Monday, March 19, 2012

Robert Conroy's 1862

Note: This is a cross-post from my primary blog, Giant-Size Nerd-Thing!.

I'll write a review tomorrow, but suffice to say that this was a pretty good book. The premise is simple: In 1862, a U.S. Navy ship stopped a British mail ship, named the Trent and removed two representatives of the Confederate States of America bound for England and France. Now in real life, it was a debacle that almost brought Britain and the U.S. to war, but diplomacy (and more than a little butt kissing) avoided that fate. In Robert Conroy's book, however, those overtures fail and England goes to war. This is all part of a plan hatched by the Prime Minister of England, Lord Palmerston, to remove the United States as a economic and military rival by ensuring a divided America. What happens is far from what is expected.

Like I said, it was a good book and if you like reading alternative history, then check it out.

Picture via Barnes & Noble.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Did you know shrapnel came from a guy named Henry Shrapnel?

Because I didn't until just now. Henry Shrapnel was an officer in the British Army that invented a new type of exploding cannon shell back in 1780s. Nasty weapon, actually - it was designed to explode overhead of an enemy army and rain metal down on them. Thus, the word shrapnel was born. I always thought it was one of those loanwords from a foreign language that was just assimilated into the English vocabulary. Learn something new everyday.