The Incredible Survival Of Augustine Le Bourdais

The ability to survive is dependent on both a strong physical constitution and an unshakeable determination.  While both of these ingredients are necessary, experience has shown that the will to live easily surpasses physical robustness in relative importance.  He whose actions are in accordance with his nature, truly lives.  Sir Thomas Browne was entirely correct when he said in his essay Religio Medici:  

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The Astor Place Riot Of 1849: The Consequences Of Incitement

One of the strangest and deadliest riots in New York history took place on May 10, 1849 outside an opera house in Manhattan.  Although its proximate cause—a jingoistic dispute between the egos of two actors—no longer commands our attention, the riot has many lessons to teach us today.  For it was a combustible mixture of media incitement, reckless demagoguery, and opportunism that lit the fuse for an explosion that would claim around thirty dead and one hundred twenty wounded.

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Jumping Ship In The South Pacific

In January of 1841 the twenty-two-year-old Herman Melville shipped aboard the whaler Acushnet for a multi-year cruise.  He had many motivations for doing this.  There was, in the first place, a desire to see the world and test himself against its challenges; then there was a need to escape the stultifying confines and restrictions of a nineteenth-century “proper” American household; and finally, a longing to cleanse himself of his father’s failures, disgrace, and early death.

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“The Black Russian”: Lessons Learned From A Fascinating Life (Podcast)

In this podcast we discuss Vladimir Alexandrov’s book The Black Russian, and what lessons we may conclude from it. Frederick Bruce Thomas was a black American businessman who made a fortune in czarist Russia in the early 1900s. His life is a fascinating one, and one that has much to teach us today.

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The Attack On Firebase Mary Ann

Max Hastings’s excellent history, Vietnam: An Epic Tragedy, discusses one revealing engagement that took place between American and North Vietnamese forces in late March of 1971.  This action—a ferocious assault on a remote firebase named Mary Ann—merits further reflection, I think, and we will give it its due here.

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Small Twitter Account Gold: Tweet Reading 1

In this podcast, I read some of the recent great tweets I’ve noticed from small accounts on Twitter. Small Twitter accounts are a refreshing break from the contrived foolery of the mainstream blue-check accounts. They are an underappreciated gold mine of honesty, passion, and tortured grapplings with truth. Let’s give some credit where it is due, and hear what they have to say.

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The Leadership Principles Of St. Benedict

If we are to understand the mind of early medieval man, we must attempt to place ourselves in his situation and circumstances.  It is difficult for us, having been reared in an age of relative peace and prosperity, to grasp the degree to which Western Europe had succumbed to chaos, warfare, and barbarism after Roman civil authority collapsed in the fourth and fifth centuries. 

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Everything Is Fine, Until It Is Not

In 1917 there was published in Germany a book entitled Deductions from the World War (Folgerungen aus dem Weltkriege).  It was an analysis of lessons learned from the previous four years of intense fighting, and its author was a man named Baron Hugo Von Freytag-Loringhoven.  At the time he was a lieutenant-general, and he was working as the deputy chief of the German Imperial Staff.  An English translation of his book appeared in 1918.      

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