Feliz Cinco de Mayo! Contrary to what many people think, Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico’s Independence Day (that’s September 16) or even a public holiday in Mexico. Instead, it marks Mexico’s May 5, 1862, victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War. Cinco de Mayo is a reminder that France…

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Did you know that the patron saint of Ireland wasn’t Irish? Indeed, St. Patrick grew up in present-day Wales and was kidnapped int o slavery in Ireland. At least, that’s St. Patrick’s version of the story that he penned in his short autobiography, the Confessio. One historian, however, says that it’s more likely that St.…

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Engaged in a furious race against time as cancer attacked his body, Ulysses S. Grant wrote his memoirs with military efficiency, churning out as many as 10,000 words in a single day. (Take it from me–that’s an insane level of output.) Grant was desperate to finish his memoirs, which Mark Twain would publish, before dying…

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In this month’s edition of The Throwback history e-newsletter, find out why you have Teddy Roosevelt to thank for the Super Bowl, test your history knowledge, watch historians discuss contested presidential elections, and learn about a book that chronicles the epic futility of the early years of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Click here to read.

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Donald Trump is not the first American president to fail to attend the formal swearing-in of a successor. In 1801, there was no tradition for a president who lost re-election appearing at the inauguration of the winner. And John Adams wasn’t about to set it. Adams, the second president of the United States, departed the…

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Did you know that the Pilgrims’ intended destination was not Massachusetts but the mouth of the Hudson River? Just imagine how American history might have differed if the pious Pilgrims had been the first Europeans to colonize Manhattan instead of the Dutch merchants who arrived in 1624. Would New York City have ever become the…

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The October issue of The Throwback, my monthly history-themed e-newsletter, takes a look back at the last time the U.S. government fast-tracked a vaccine development during an election year, one writer’s exploration of statues in the public square, a podcast about New York City, and a PBS documentary on women’s suffrage. Click here to find…

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The July issue of The Throwback, my monthly history-themed e-newsletter, takes a look back at the secret plan to save the Declaration of Independence from destruction during World War II. It may sound like a plot line from a National Treasure movie, but it’s a true story. Plus, did you know there is a secret chamber…

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The June issue of The Throwback, my monthly history-themed e-newsletter, takes a look back at the ultimate social-distancing experiment–Biosphere II. The prototype for a planetary commune was plagued by media controversy and outsized expectations–and that’s even before Steve Bannon showed up. Also covered is the recent History Channel miniseries on Ulysses S. Grant and why…

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