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Christopher Klein
30 followers -
Author and freelance travel and history writer
Author and freelance travel and history writer

30 followers
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Read my Q&A with author Tristan Donovan in the Boston Globe Ideas section today to find out how Abraham Lincoln's decision to grow a beard ended up giving the world The Game of Life, Twister, Hungry Hungry Hippos and other popular Milton Bradley games.

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One hundred years ago today, U.S. Navy Seaman Herbert Renshaw was Lost at Sea while serving his country during World War I. He then became lost to history, forgotten by the government he served, until an all-volunteer group hunting for World War I’s MIAs resurrected his memory and ensured he would receive the recognition he deserved a century after his death.

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New York City may boast one of the most familiar skylines in the world, but the Big Apple could have looked considerably different had any of the plans profiled in the recently published book “Never Built New York" by Sam Lubell and Greg Goldin come to fruition. Take a virtual tour of 10 unbuilt New York City attractions, including a dome for the Brooklyn Dodgers, a futuristic city designed by Frank Lloyd Wright fir Ellis Island and a Native American statue the size of Lady Liberty.

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All aboard for a trip back through time! While the advent of train travel altered previously held concepts of time and distance, learn about 10 railways and train journeys that also changed the course of history.

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The eight men knew the next step they took would not only change their lives, it could possibly end them as well. “You will take one step forward as your name and service are called and such step will constitute your induction into the Armed Forces indicated,” Lieutenant Steven Dunkley instructed the draftees standing before him inside the Armed Forces Examining and Entrance Station in Houston, Texas, on April 28, 1967.

As Dunkley called out the first six names from a stack of cards, the draftees stepped forward one-by-one to join a military deep in the throes of the Vietnam War. The lieutenant then cried out, “Muhammad Ali, would you please step forward!” What happened next 50 years ago today would become part of history.

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In the early 1920s, the Osage Nation became the richest people on earth on a per capita basis following the discovery of oil on their reservation. The Osage owned mansions and chauffeured cars and employed hundreds of servants, many of them white.

They also aroused jealousy, and dozens of tribe members were systematically killed in one of the most shocking murder conspiracies in American history. Best-selling author chronicles the murder mystery in his new book, “Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI.” I highly recommend the book and had the pleasure to speak with Grann about how greed, oil and prejudice resulted in a sinister plot and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s first major homicide case.

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Sixty-five years ago today, television viewers who turned on their sets expecting to watch their favorite soap operas or games shows instead saw quite a different program--the first nationwide live coverage of an atomic bomb test. The A-bomb detonated in the desert outside of Las Vegas packed quite a wallop, but the TV broadcast itself turned out to be a dud.

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More than 135 million people a year visit Walt Disney theme parks and resorts around the world, according to the Themed Entertainment Association. While Disneyland, the Magic Kingdom and Epcot Center are familiar to kids both young and old, the company also had plans for other attractions ranging from a downtown St. Louis theme park to a hotel based on an Iranian mosque. Before that next trip to Fantasyland and Tomorrowland, take a virtual tour through Neverland and learn about eight Disney attractions that never got off the drawing board.

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A little more than four months after the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, the United States struck back on April 18, 1942, with the daring Doolittle Raid. Lieutenant Richard E. Cole, who served as Jimmy Doolittle’s co-pilot, is the only one of the 80 raiders still living, and today the 101-year-old veteran commemorated the 75th anniversary of the Doolittle Raid by continuing an annual tradition of raising a silver goblet and toasting his fallen comrades with 1896 cognac. 

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It was 70 years ago today on a cold, rainy day at Ebbets Field that Jackie Robinson broke baseball's color barrier. For his one season with the minor league Montreal Royals and his first two seasons with the Brooklyn Dodgers, Robinson remained silent and turned the other cheek in the face of vicious slurs and racial bigotry.

Once granted his own personal “emancipation” by Dodgers General Manager Branch Rickey in 1949, however, Robinson was allowed to be his true self, a forceful voice for justice and civil rights. The mythology of Robinson the silent martyr has obscured the full sense of the man who once wrote: “If I had a room jammed with trophies, awards and citations, and a child of mine came into that room and asked what I had done in defense of black people and decent whites fighting for freedom, and I had to tell that child that I had kept quiet, that I had been timid, I would have to mark myself a total failure at the whole business of living."
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