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Gang Roundup – February 2021

Beginning of February. A month of this new year has gone, and I have clearer ideas about where I want to go with this blog than I ever had before. It will take time on my part and a lot of planning and work, but I’m very motivated. 
I’ll have to admit I’ve not been very good at consistency, lately, but that’s a key word here. I need to be more consistent. I know I do. And now that my day job has re-entered a realm of near-normalcy, I think I can try. 

But first, I’ll have a couple of crazy months, just not to lose the habit. 
February means it’s time to get down to serious business for the AtoZ Challenge. This year, I’ll have one more challenge to go with it: I’m preparing a course about Tolkien for the Accademia Online di Biblioterapia, and I need to make 11 videos by the end of this month. 
I shouldn’t say it too often, because I get scared. 

But for now, let’s resume the usual program.

Memories of the 1918 Pandemic From Those Who Survived

A man is refused access to a streetcar in 1918 Seattle, because he is not wearing a face mask. Courtesy of NARA.
A man is refused access to a streetcar in 1918 Seattle,
because he is not wearing a face mask. Courtesy of NARA.

This is a quick but interesting article about how the Spanish Influenza gave a push to research and scientific discoveries that allowed an unexpected advance in the field.
We have already seen how Covid-19 has changed the way scientific research is done. I wonder what this pandemic will allow scientists to do, what paths they’ll discover. Studying the 1918 influenza led to discoveries that allowed to cure many other illnesses. This is one case where I hope that history will repeat itself.

Germany’s Golden Twenties

Great article, giving a bird-fly view over Germany 1920s, the Goldene Zwanziger

It was indeed an incredible place – though I doubt you’ll be surprised hearing me say so.

Marcus Rauchfuß lingers on the nicer part of the history here, but I think it is a good thing. It’s often difficult for the casual reader to see the many good things that were happening in Germany between the wars because so many other bad things were happening at the same time. But as we know, history isn’t fond of black/white worldviews.

I’d also like to thank the Never Was Magazine for hosting my Weimar Germany series. They are reposting my AtoZ Series about Weimar Germany from a couple of years ago, with a lot of beautiful photos. 

Never Was Magazine is an online magazine devoted to all kinds of punk fiction, including Dieselpunk, and they have a keen interest in the actual history that inspires these genres. I’m sure that, like me, you’ll find a lot of interesting articles there. Go check it out!

Before alarm clocks were affordable, there was a profession called a “Knocker-Up“

The knocker-upper used a truncheon or short, heavy stick to knock on the clients’ doors or a long and light stick, often made of bamboo, to reach windows on higher floors.

I’m always fascinated by the number of professions that still existed at the beginning of the 1900s and don’t exist anymore. Many of these professions, as it happens, died out in the 1920s, as ways of life changed and mechanisation became more reliable.
One of these strange (to us) professions that existed throughout the Industrial Revolution in Britain and Ireland and died out in the 1920s was the Knocker-up. This was a person that mainly worked in busy industrial cities and towns and went around in the early hours to wake up workers by knocking at their windows.
History really is stranger than any fantasy.

At Summer’s End by Courtney Ellis

AT SUMMER'S END (Courtney Ellis) When an ambitious female artist accepts an unexpected commission at a powerful earl's country estate in 1920s England, she finds his war-torn family crumbling under the weight of long-kept secrets.

Alberta Preston accepts the commission of a lifetime when she receives an invitation from the Earl of Wakeford to spend a summer painting at His Lordship’s country home, Castle Braemore. Bertie imagines her residence at the prodigious estate will finally enable her to embark on a professional career and prove her worth as an artist, regardless of her gender.

Upon her arrival, however, Bertie finds the opulent Braemore and its inhabitants diminished by the Great War. The earl has been living in isolation since returning from  the trenches,  locked away in his rooms and hiding battle scars behind a prosthetic mask. While his younger siblings eagerly welcome Bertie into their world, she soon sees chips in that world’s gilded facade. As she and the earl develop an unexpected bond, Bertie becomes deeply entangled in the pain and secrets she discovers hidden within Castle Braemore and the hearts of its residents.

Threaded with hope, love, and loss, At Summer’s End delivers a portrait of a noble family–and a world–changed forever by the war to end all wars.

An Irish Hostage by Charles Todd

AN IRISH HOSTAGE (Charles Todd) In the uneasy peace following World War I, nurse Bess Crawford runs into trouble and treachery in Ireland—in this twelfth book in the New York Times bestselling mystery series.

The Great War is over—but in Ireland, in the wake of the bloody 1916 Easter Rising, anyone who served in France is now considered a traitor, including nurse Eileen Flynn and former soldier Michael Sullivan, who only want to be married in the small, isolated village where she grew up. Even her grandmother is against it, and Eileen’s only protection is her cousin Terrence who was a hero of the Rising and is still being hunted by the British. 

Bess Crawford had promised to be there for the wedding. And in spite of the danger to her, she keeps that promise—only to be met with the shocking news that the groom has vanished. Eileen begs for her help, but how can Bess hope to find him when she doesn’t know the country, the people, or where to put her trust? Time is running out, for Michael and for Bess herself, and soon her own life is on the line. With only an Irish outlaw and a prisoner about to be hanged for murder on her side, how can she possibly save herself, much less stop a killer?   

Valentino Will Die by Donis Casey

VALENTINO WILL DIE (Donis Casey) Champagne wishes and caviar dreams take a backseat when a murderer strikes in Hollywood

Silent film sensation Bianca LaBelle, formerly farm girl Blanche Tucker of duller-than-dull Boynton, Oklahoma, has put a lot of distance between her humble roots and her glamorous new Hollywood life. Her life is now fashionable and dazzling, and it becomes even more so when she gets to make a film with her good friend and screen idol, Rudolph Valentino.

But when Rudy confides in Bianca that someone is trying to kill him, and then falls deathly ill days later, Bianca vows to find out who is behind the underhanded deed. A jilted lover, a delusional fan, or maybe even a mobster? Calling on P.I. Ted Oliver to help her investigate, the two delve into the end of what had seemed to be the charmed life of Valentino.

Well, I know the 1920s were very weird and that a lot of things that we think were invented a lot later, had a first start in the 1920s…. but this is really weird.

GANG ROUNDUP (February 2021)1920s and the Spanish Influenza - Gang Roundup - February... The 1920s and the Spanish Influenza. It is really 100 years ago? Let's have a closer look


  • Kristin
    Posted February 4, 2021 at 14:06

    I wonder if she could take photos with that “mobile phone”. :D
    Interesting round up. I’m working on my A to Z which is based on 26 of the women I studied from Montgomery who were members of my grandmother’s Edelweiss club, with a few odd others thrown in to cover the whole alphabet.

    • Post Author
      Posted February 5, 2021 at 13:19

      I’m so envious! You sound like you’re well on your way to complete your posts for the AtoZ. I’m still in the research phase… and feeling like I’m falling behind.
      But I’ll keep at it!
      Can’t wait to read your AtoZ, Kristin! :-)

      • Kristin
        Posted February 5, 2021 at 14:04

        I’m still researching. Those people that I had to add for the alphabet and things like, what did people consider “a delicious salad” in 1918 to 1920? Still have a ways to go before I’m writing my final copy.

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