A Little Package of our Past

World History: 50 Key Milestones You Really Need to Know B 50 History

Written by:  Ian Crofton

Published by:  Quercus

Copyright:  © 2011

Attempting to describe 12-15,000 years, since the big ice fields melted, of human endeavors in 200 pages and 50 topics would seem presumptuous and futile, and you would be right, but one has to start somewhere and the first steps can and should be small but decisive.  One can quibble about the exact 50 topics, and I will do just that in a bit, but the author, Ian Crofton, performs the task with aplomb, and provides the maximum amount of useful information possible given the limiting format.

This book is a quick and fun read for both those without a broad or deep introduction to human history or those that just want to refresh their memory on once familiar, but long forgotten topics. Even if you are familiar with all the topics in the book there will be a sufficient amount of new informational tidbits to make it worth your time. For myself, as one example, I found the observation that our ancestral hunter-gather cousins versus the first cereal grain farmers, were healthier, due mainly to their higher protein intake from a meat rich diet, was new and interesting.

Each “idea” or event is developed, chronologically, over 4 printed pages that includes a short thesis, an expansion of that thesis, a timeline of notable events, a famous quote(s) and an ending synopsis of the discussion.  The publisher of this book, Quercus, has published at least 27 other books of a similar nature and format that explore the great topics of the human experience including: architecture, art, astronomy, big ideas, biology, chemistry, the digital world, earth, economics, ethics, the future, genetics, the human brain, literature, management, math, philosophy, philosophy of science, physics, politics, psychology, quantum physics, religion, science, universe, war, and world history. I believe they continue to add more topics as the years go by.  I have several of the topics, listed above on my already too fat reading list.

Not to detract from the topics that the author has chosen, his are all defendable, but for myself I probably would have included 5 different topics devoted to: the Iron Age, Israelites of the 12th century BC, 1st century Christianity, Sumerians development of an alphabet in 300 BC coupled with Guttenberg’s first printing press in the 15th century AD, 18th century BC Babylonian Hammurabi’s, and 7th century BC Greek Draco’s legal codifications, and finally the advent of computers in the 20th century and beyond.  Adding 5 topics requires that 5 be removed. I would likely leave out: Empires and Kingdoms of Africa, The Bubonic Plague, the Vietnam War, integral to the late 20th century US, but will likely be a footnote on communism in the future, and lastly, the Arab-Israeli conflict and the post 9-11 topics, at a minimum, combined into a topic on 21st century divisions in civilization and culture, as if that were something new. On further thought, maybe just leave those last two topics out completely, mainly because they are too fresh to decide their seminality to our future development as a species.

That leaves our list one shy of 50. What topic(s) would you add?

No Remorse – No Acquittal

The Promise (2017)M The Promise

els – 9.0/10

IMDb – 6.0/10

Amazon – 4.5/5 stars

Rotten Tomatoes Critics – 5.6/10

Rotten Tomatoes Audience – 4.7/5

Directed by: Terry George

Written by: Terry George and Robin Swicord

Produced by: Eric Esrailian, William Horberg, Mike Medavoy, et.al.

Music by: Gabriel Yared

Cast: Oscar Isaac, Charlotte Le Bon, Christian Bale

The defeat of the Ottoman Empire at the end of the First Balkan War in May of 1913 resulted in the loss of 85% of their territory and signaled the end of the Muslim sultanate in Europe. The Balkan nations, at the end of the war, expelled 100s of thousands of Muslims from their newly liberated lands, to lands within Anatolia, which at the time, were mostly inhabited by Christian Armenians. The resettled Muslims resented their inferior status along-side their more affluent Christian neighbors, adding fuel to the smoldering hatred of all things not Muslim and Turk.

At the outbreak of WWI in July of 1914, the remaining fragments of the Ottoman Empire joined the Germans in battling the Russians, with the hope of regaining past glory and territory. Blaming the Armenians for the Balkan War defeats, the Turks used WWI to light the match to their smoldering contempt for Armenians, igniting an inferno of maniacal, murderous elimination that was to engulf the Christians for the next 7 years. The match struck in April of 1915. The Turks arrested and eventually murdered almost 300 of the Armenian elite in Constantinople. The Pogrom would continue through 1922 resulting in the deaths of 800,000 to 1.5 million Armenians.

The critics panned this movie for insufficient plot development concerning the romantic triangle between the 3 protagonists. Well, ok then.  Getting lost in the reeds of sex while the rivers run red with the blood of a thousand, thousand innocents, suggests that the proctors of art criticism are not even remotely up to the task.

Yes, The Promise is a love story, as a sub-plot, within the main story of telling the horrific events of the genocidal Armenian murders by Muslim Turks.  Numerous Turk methods of depravity are chronicled here, marching Armenian women and children into the Syrian desert sands to die of dehydration, cruel enslavement of the Armenian men to build infrastructure until they drop dead of starvation, injury or murder, the burning of Armenian towns and the mass execution of the towns inhabitants, and at the utmost limits of debasement the request for the payouts from Armenian’s life insurance policies after the Turks have killed them.

To this day Turkey refuses to acknowledge the death of the Armenian Christians as genocide; the current, unremorseful, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan prefers to refer to it as the Event of 1915.

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