Stuff You Missed in History Class
Beast of Gevaudan10/22/14
Attacks on women and children of Gevaudan in the 1760s sparked a huge effort to hunt and kill the mystery beast behind them. While efforts to track the animal struggled, France was gripped in terror.
Christina of Sweden
Christina was a smart, learned woman, but not a particularly good ruler. Her entire life was marked by being kind of a contradictory, restless character – starting basically from the moment she was born.
Bela Lugosi, part 2
While his name instantly conjures an image of the dashing, sophisticated vampire that helped spark an entire horror film genre, Lugosi really lost more than he gained from playing the role.
Bela Lugosi, Part 1
While he’s mostly associated with the role of Dracula, Bela Lugosi's early life was significantly affected by WWI, the fall of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the transition from silent film to talkies.
Transgender activist Sylvia Rivera is often compared to Rosa Parks. She became famous, in part, for participating in the Stonewall Riots, and she spent her life campaigning bravely, stridently and vocally for the rights of gay and transgender people.
The Dyatlov Pass Incident
In 1959, nine students ventured into the Ural mountains for a ski hiking trip, and never returned. While much speculation has swirled for more than half a century, no one knows for certain what caused them to abandon their camp to die in the cold.
Ethan Allen, Part 2
Allen's later years were marred by some unwise political alliances he made in his effort to gain independence for Vermont. After his political work cooled, he turned instead to writing, though he wasn't a hugely popular author.
Ethan Allen, Part 1
Ethan Allen was a huge personality, a founder of Vermont, and an important figure in the Revolutionary War. His story also includes some fascinating side-notes, and some missteps which may account for his hazy spot in historical lore.
A Culinary History of Spam
This famous Hormel Foods product was invented in the 1930s to make use of a surplus of shoulder meat from pigs. Not only was it an instant hit in the U.S., it also played a huge role in WWII and shaped the cuisines of many Pacific Island nations.
The Lady Juliana
Great Britain didn't only send criminals to Australia as punishment; they also wanted to colonize the continent. But to do that, they had to send women in addition to men. This plan involved some unsettling facts, and had some unexpected consequences.
China’s Cultural Revolution: Rewriting a Nation
In 1969, the tone and direction of the Cultural Revolution shifted dramatically. For the next seven years, until Mao Zedong's death, he tried to remake the government, and the country, after his own vision.
China’s Cultural Revolution: Red Guard and Purges
Mao’s plan to once again put China on the path to modernization was the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, which started in 1966. The first phase was a very aggressive, radical series of purges and arrests that went from 1966 to 1968.
The Father of Dark Matter
Fritz Zwicky is often described as a genius, but also as a caustic figure. His insights into astrophysics are downright baffling, but his prickly interactions with peers were problematic to his career and his place in history.
The Great Famine
In the wake of the Great Leap Forward, issues with supply and demand, variables of weather and labor and a series of poor decisions resulted in a devastating famine. For three years, China struggled, far removed from the utopia Mao had envisioned.
British Royal Navy lieutenant and artist Norman Wilkinson is usually credited with the idea of disruptive camouflage. But, another man, naturalist John Graham Kerr, claimed that he had the idea three years earlier.
The Great Leap Forward
In the mid-20th century, Chairman Mao Zedong launched an ambitious plan to revolutionize Chinese agriculture and industry, build up the economy and turn China into a communist utopia.
Hetty Green, the Witch of Wall Street
She was the wealthiest woman in the U.S., skilled when it came to amassing wealth. But her eccentric behavior and miserly ways led to bad press and a less-than-flaterring nickname.
The Heathen School
The Foreign Mission School in Cornwall, Connecticut was founded with the plan that it would draw young men from world cultures, educate them, convert them to Christianity, and then send them back to their native lands to spread their newfound religion.
Andrews’ Raid, or: The Great Locomotive Chase Pt. 2
As the second part of the story picks up, James Andrews and 22 men have commandeered a northbound train in Big Shanty, Georgia. Its conductor, William Fuller, has begun chasing them on foot with two other men in a valiant effort to thwart their plot.
Andrews’ Raid, or: The Great Locomotive Chase Pt. 1
The Great Locomotive Chase was a very daring – but very failed – plot to commandeer a train and destroy a crucial stretch of railroad during the Civil War. It's a wild and fun story that covers a lot of ground as it travels around the southestern U.S.
- United States
One Capital City Plaza
3350 Peachtree Road, Suite 1500
Atlanta, GA 30326