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Monday, January 01, 2018

National Geographic History

When Rupert Murdoch bought National Geographic, most die-hard readers of the longtime published magazine figured it would be ruined. I see that a lot of the covers are about Jesus or conspiracies, or conspiracies about Jesus. However, I did take a look at an issue of National Geographic History, and I was pleasantly surprised.

Now, you won't find in-depth articles, usually they are about eight to ten pages and fully illustrated. But there is no dumbing down, no articles about UFOs or ice road truckers, which is the way the History Channel went.

I was drawn by the cover story about Guy Fawkes and the gunpowder plot, which tied into one of my favorite films, V for Vendetta (the Guy Fawkes mask has been appropriated by that person or organization called "Anonymous.". I learned that he was not alone in the plot to blow up parliament on fifth of November. I also enjoyed an article about Mata Hari, the dancer and spy who was executed but, according to the author, wrongly so.

There is a lot more, and none of it is about U.S. history. Education in America has history class usually start with Columbus, and ignores history of any other place. So it's nice to have articles about Queen Zenobia, who led an army that conquered Egypt and Rome, and Gilles de Rais, a compatriot of Joan of Arc who is thought to be a notorious serial killer. There is also an article about the rich and poor during the Roman Empire.

The magazine has departments, which cover megaliths in Western Europe, from Portugal to the north of Scotland, along with a handy map for those would like to visit; Queen Victoria's crown; and the Ishtar Gate. I found almost all the articles clearly written for the layman, but not simplistic.

So apparently Murdoch has not gotten his fingerprints on National Geographic History. I think I'm going to subscribe.

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