Thursday, May 29, 2014

Solidarity, Duke Ellington and Dracula, or learning about history by reading the NYT obituaries.

When I passed through Poland in 1989, Gen. Jaruzelski remained on top, but the elections in which Solidarity was victorious had already been held, and the clock was ticking.

NYTimes: Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski, Solidarity’s Foil, Dies at 90

General Jaruzelski earned a villainous place in history when he suppressed Poland’s powerful Solidarity labor movement, but was later consoled by the idea that his reputation would improve.

Who'd have imagined that Duke Ellington's suave male vocalist from the 1940s still lived? The life of Herb Jeffries informs us about race in America.

NYTimes: Herb Jeffries, ‘Bronze Buckaroo’ of Song and Screen, Dies at 100 (or So)

Mr. Jeffries sang with Duke Ellington and starred in early black westerns using a nickname that evoked his malleable racial identity.

I read Professor Florescu's first Dracula exploration at a very young age.

NYTimes: Radu Florescu, Scholar Who Linked Dracula and Vlad the Impaler, Dies at 88

Professor Florescu wrote books that sought to identify Vlad, the 15th-century monarch, as the historical inspiration for Bram Stoker’s antihero.

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