On September 28, 1791, France became the first country to emancipate Jews fully in the modern world. What took so long? And why is Antisemitism so pervasive and persistent.
On September 21 of 1937, a small and whimsical children’s book by an apparently dry Oxford professor appeared. The Hobbit has its failings, to the point that the movies are actually better than the book, very much unlike the film adaptations of The Lord of the Rings. But it already contained the germ of the powerful moral vision that was to blossom into Tolkien’s unforgettable and transformative trilogy.
Making the first solo crossing of the Atlantic in a gas balloon in 1984 rather missed the golden age of ballooning, and it’s an achievement with a few asterisks attached. But it’s still a heck of an achievement by Joe Kittinger, and reminds us there are so many ways there are to excel in so many areas.
Two naval battles that began on August 30 remind us of the outsized geopolitical importance of the West.
Stepped down as chairman of the committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. It was something of a hapless performance. And in one sense, Gorbachev can and should be seen as a bumbler. But the most important thing about him was a fundamental decency that meant the end of communism was remarkably bloodless.