Category Archives: History

Nobel Peace Prize 2014 for Liu Xiaobo

My suggestion for the Nobel Peace Prize 2014: Liu Xiaobo, the Chinese writer and human rights activist. Yes, I know that Liu Xiaobo already won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010 and it would be the first time that one person … Continue reading

Posted in China, History, Human Rights, Politics | Tagged , | 14 Comments

“1493” by Charles C. Mann

1493 refers to the year after Christopher Columbus “discovered” America and as the second part of the title suggests, the book describes how Europe’s discovery of the Americas revolutionized trade, ecology and life on earth. That sounds like an enormous … Continue reading

Posted in Books, China, Economics, Environment, Europe, Health, History, Maps, Military, Politics, Technology, Travel, UK, USA | Tagged | 3 Comments

Putin’s favourite song

This song will be blasting from Russian tanks when they enter Kiev:

Posted in Cold War, Music, Russia | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

ISIS recruiting more German fighters

Posted in History, Holocaust, Military, Syria, World War II | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

When to Smoke (and when not to)

Around 1774, the former Chinese provincial governor Lu Yao provided a set of smoking rules in his book Yan Pu (Smoking Manual). In great detail he addressed the question of when to smoke (and when not to): Do smoke: after … Continue reading

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Not only in James Bond

Some people still believe that James Bond books and films are fiction. How naive. I have just read Operation Mincemeat by Ben Macintyre, the true story of a British operation during World War II, in which a dead body was … Continue reading

Posted in Books, France, History, James Bond, UK, World War II | Tagged , | 4 Comments

“… and the noble gesture of the German commander”

“If I hadn’t followed orders, I would have been shot myself” the culprits say, and their defense attorneys call it “acting under superior orders” when someone is indicted for crimes committed during World War II. A handy excuse, this alleged moral dilemma. Except that … Continue reading

Posted in Apulia, Germany, History, Italy, Law, Military, Travel, World War II | Tagged | 1 Comment