The year was 1297

Princess Joan had a very big problem in the summer of 1297. Joan, 23, was political gold. Her father – the feared and volatile 6’4” Edward I of England – was arranging a second marriage for her. Joan was a widow. Edward had married her off at 17 to the powerful, red-haired Gilbert de Clare,…

The year was 1989

It appeared out of the blue. Or out of the black, actually, on Friday night, December 15. The NYSE was furious – get that bull out of here! By the time a New York Post photographer appeared on Saturday, the 7,000 lb., 16-foot long bronze bull was already being lifted by a crane and on…

The Year was 2017

Wonder Woman, directed by Patty Jenkins, is a cinematic success. But there have been real life wonder women throughout our history. Some were samurai. Tomoe Gozen (c.1157-1247) became an excellent archer and sword handler. In one battle, she threw herself upon an enemy leader and decapitated him. “Whenever a battle was imminent, Yoshinaka [Minamoto] sent…

The year was 1884

What did the richest man in the world go to great lengths (pun intended) to hide? John D. Rockefeller, the world’s first billionaire, had not been a happy kid. The problem was his father, William, a wandering snake oil salesman and scam artist, who had two wives (plus a couple of kids by a mistress)….

The year was 1955

James Dean, 24, was a box office gold. He was also a race car driver. He had to sign a clause in his contract that that he would not enter any races during the filming of Giant, the movie he was starring in with Elizabeth Taylor. Dean had entered UCLA as a pre-law student, joined…

The year was 1370 BCE

It was summer in Jutland, 3,387 years ago. A lovely young woman, probably not quite 18 years old, was enjoying the weather. She was about 5’3” and had short blond hair. She was wearing what may have been her favorite outfit – a woven woolen top that had a boat-neck collar and elbow-length sleeves. It…

The Year was 1492

No one died from gout – the Disease of Kings. So the doctor was not particularly worried about his patient, Lorenzo de’ Medici, called Lorenzo the Magnificent, one of the richest men in the world. But because Lorenzo was suffering from a pretty bad episode, the doctor changed the treatment. To the usual ground-up pearls,…

The year was 1844

Alexandre Dumas had so many ideas! But he didn’t have time to do all that bothersome research, all that cumbersome writing. So he set up a kind of factory system to get it all done in one lifetime. His grandmother had been a slave in Haiti.  That meant her children with the French nobleman who…

The year was 1962

With fear in his heart, Nobuo Fujita, carrying an ancient samurai sword, was bravely going to face his fate. He expected the worst – imprisonment. He was coming from Japan, headed for Oregon. What had he done? It had been 20 years earlier… On Sept. 9, 1942, Fujita and his co-pilot, Okuda Shoji, had taken…

The year was 1373

Was it arrogance? He was known for it. Was he bitter? Yes. John of Gaunt spent his life merely third in line for the throne when he clearly thought he was most qualified to be king of England. Did he see this as a way to prove to England that he was a better military…