Soldiers, Civil Rights, Chicago, Pentagon Papers, Judaica


Hic sunt camelopardus: this historical edition of The Browser is presented for archaeological purposes; links and formatting may be broken.

Praying For Recruits

Sir Humphrey | Thin Pinstriped Line | 10th January 2018

How do you persuade young people to join the Army? The sales pitch used to be that soldiering was a dangerous and demanding vocation for the brave and the super-tough. But that no longer fits. “Very few of the recruits joining the Army are likely to have ever been in a fight, and very few of them will ever be in a fight. Making out that the Army is only looking for SAS types able to go and kill people doesn’t expand the pool of recruits, it closes it down” (2,500 words)

Memories Of Mississipi

Danny Lyon | New York Review Of Books | 10th January 2018

A photographer recalls how it felt to be part of the civil rights movement in the American South in the early 1960s. Touching and terrifying by turns. “I made a fuss as they confiscated my Nikon before locking me in a cell for the night. Through the bars and across the hall, I could see Dr. King in his cell on the black side of the jail. A day or two after I was released, I had the nerve to return to the jail and take pictures of the exterior. A group of policemen soon surrounded me” (3,900 words)

Death By Derivatives

Michael Durbin | Damn Interesting | 21st November 2017

Tales from the early days of futures trading on the Chicago Board Of Trade — when the alternative to settlement was suicide. “In April of 1873, an unhappy man walked along Clark Street in downtown Chicago. His name was Aymar de Belloy. There was a gun in his pocket, and a nickel – enough for one final glass of beer. He entered Kirchoff’s tavern and sat at a table, then changed his mind about the beer. He drew his gun, pointed it at his forehead, and pulled the trigger” (2,300 words)

The Largest Leak In History

Jeff Himmelman | Literary Hub | 10th January 2018

Gripping account of how and why the Washington Post defied the Nixon administration and published the ‘Pentagon Papers’, the Defense Department’s damning internal history of America’s war in Vietnam. The Post’s editor, Ben Bradlee, charged ahead despite the legal and political risks because he wanted to score a victory over the New York Times, which also had the Papers but was afraid to publish. “Ben wasn’t interested in the issue at all. He was interested in the journalism” (3,030 words)

One Last Glimpse Of Jewish Treasures

Armin Rosen | Tablet | 9th January 2018

Notes from an auction of Judaica at Sotheby’s. “The collection told strange and wonderful Jewish stories: There were Renaissance letters from Christian scholars written in perfect Hebrew, a 17th-century schita manual with bovine organs illustrated in shades of red, an early copy of Herzl’s ‘Altneuland’. For a shade over $300,000, off went the oldest known complete Ashkenazi siddur on earth, an Early 16th-century marvel hidden away in a French monastery library for nearly its entire existence” (1,400 words)

Video of the day A Brief History Of Acadians In Nova Scotia

What to expect:

They came from France in the 17C, bringing the world’s best comfort food. Some went on to Louisiana, as “cajuns” (3’30”)

Thought for the day

If trouble comes when you least expect it then maybe the thing to do is to always expect it
Cormac McCarthy

Podcast of the day Movement Time | Scene On Radio

Historian Tim Tyson talks about his book, ‘The Killing Of Emmet Till”
(45'10")

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