Airy Persiflage

The audio channel to long standing blog the Third Point of Singularity


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Archive for the 'History' Category


War is a Racket, by Smedley Butler

Sunday, August 19th, 2012
History, Pacifism, War | Comments

I will depart from usual practice of narrating my own posts on Airy Persiflage and post an excellent Librivox recording of the signature work of a hero of mine, General Smedley Butler.  General Butler was the real thing. A Major General in the United States Marine Corps, he participated in several campaigns and little "Banana Wars" around the turn of the century and was twice awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.  During his 34-year career as a Marine, he participated in military actions in the Philippines, China, in Central America and the Caribbean during the Banana Wars, and France in World War I. By the end of his career, he had received 16 medals, five for heroism. He is one of 19 men to twice receive the Medal of Honor, one of three to be awarded both the Marine Corps Brevet Medal and the Medal of Honor, and the only man to be awarded the Brevet Medal and two Medals of Honor, all for separate actions.

In his 1935 book War is a Racket, he described the workings of the military-industrial complex and, after retiring from service, became a popular speaker at meetings organized by veterans, pacifists and church groups in the 1930s.  Attached to this post is a recording of WAR IS A RACKET, read by a Librivox reader named Jules Harlock.  The recording is posted under the Creative Commons License.

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“We are Coming by Day and by Night”

Saturday, April 28th, 2012
spoken word, History, WW2 | Comments

This is a slight deviation from what I normally put up on Airy Persiflage.  This post is  a reading of the text of a leaflet dropped on Nazi Germany by RAF  bombers in the Summer of 1942.  Although famed Strategic Bomber visionary Arthur "Bomber" Harris signed it, he subsequently denied its authorship.

arthurbomberharris.jpg

I apologize for not attempting this in a proper British accent; it did seem called for considering the subject matter.  However, my first attempt was so comical I thought it took away from the sense of the piece!

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A Letter to my Old Master

Friday, February 3rd, 2012
Humor, History, Civil War, Slavery | Comments

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In August of 1865, a Colonel P.H. Anderson of Big Spring, Tennessee, wrote to his former slave, Jourdon Anderson, and requested that he come back to work on his farm. Jourdon — who, since being emancipated, had moved to Ohio, found paid work, and was now supporting his family — responded spectacularly by way of the letter seen below (a letter which, according to newspapers at the time, he dictated).  As a postscript, it turns out that Jourdon and Mandy lived to a ripe old age, and had 11 children!  Nothing is recorded as to whether they ever visited Tennessee again.

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John and Abigal Adams, a Life in Letters 001

Sunday, May 22nd, 2011
spoken word, History | Comments

John Adams (1735-1826) and Abigail Smith Adams (1744-1818) were a couple that supported each other intellectually and emotionally throughout their long married life together.  Throughout John's long absences, first with the Continental Congress and then as ambassador to France and the Netherlands, they kept up an astonishing correspondence exchanging over 1,100 letters, beginning during their courtship in 1762 and continuing throughout John's political career (until 1801). These warm and informative letters include John's descriptions of the Continental Congress and his impressions of Europe while he served in various diplomatic roles, as well as Abigail's updates about their family, farm, and news of the Revolution's impact on the Boston area.

Some of this correspondence is archived and published here at the Massachusetts Historical Society website.  We will attempt to do this subject some justice.  Thanks to Julie Bellam of Pennsylvania for reading Abigal's letter.

In this letter, Abigal tells John about an excursion on a continental brig, and John mentions an upcoming Declaration that will become a major focus of his life.

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