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Gang Roundup – December 2017

How is it that it’s December already???

This year is almost gone too, and I won’t be sorry to see it go eaither. It has been another though year, though in a different way from 2017. I keep hoping the new year will be better. I’m still here hoping.

But hey, on the jolly side, I’ve won NaNoWriMo even if I didn’t expect it (more on this on a future post)… you might have guessed I was writing by my disappearance from the blog. I’ll try to cram the posts I wanted in November here in December… but I can’t promise anything.

So I’d say, better get on with our roundup! Hope you’ll enjoy!

Although the original caption from an agency photo archive describes a German officer leading his men through a cloud of phosgene gas as they run toward the British trenches, this image is almost certainly from training behind the lines.

Photographers on the Front Lines of the Great War

WWI was a terrible event, and still it gave us so many things that we now take for granted. Many good things. That’s something to think about. Here’s an article that addresses modern press and moder reporter photography, which was indeed ‘invented’ during the war. There was a drive to bring the war authentically into people’s houses (I suppose for emotional involvment), but becuase tools in that time were slow to work and reporters could seldom come close enough to the action, this is also the time where fake action photographs were invented.
So there you have it!

 American Experience film about Mary Pickford

Many are aware of the fact that Mary Pickford was one of the first film stars in history. She was also a very skilfull, farsighted business woman (which wasn’t even that strange in early Holliwood, as The Early Women Filmmakers Blogathon has proved).
We can see her success easily, but do we know what was the price? With stardom came popularity and a form of power, but it also came solitude, hard feelings and ultimatly a lonely life.

Art Deco

This is only a gallery of imagines but I couldn’t resist.
I’ve always been fascinatend with Art Deco, I wouldn’t be able to say why exactly. I like the clean lines, the stright lines mixed with the curved ones. There’s some kind of beautiful elegance and a particular balance to it, I suppose.

By the way, I’ve been to an exposition about Art Deco back in May. Planned to post about it since then, and I promise that will come soon.
I saw so many beautiful things! My head is still spinning!

Living in a 1920s Secret Society Clubhouse

And speaking of Art Deco, how about this?

The Level Club at 253 W. 73rd St. is Manhattan’s secret hideaway filled with its own twists and turns left behind by the Freemasons. Now it is in the hands of the lucky few living in their restored 1920s clubhouse hotel.

Let me check my pockets and see whether I can afford this.

Top 10 Historically Accurate Movies

I know that historical accusacy in historical fiction is alwasy debatable and it is especially so in big film productions, but I would agree these are all great films.
I’ve seen other top tens of historical films when I was searching this topic, and there are a few that I’m sorry are not here (The King’s Speech, for example) but of course when you only choose ten, you have to make choices. I’m happy Der Untergang is here, though. That is an incredible film which isn’t as known as it deserved to be, especially outside Europe.
So many WWII films.

The Glass That Laughed by Dashiell Hammett

It may seem surprising, but lost short stories by Dashiell Hammett still reappear every now and then on lost issues of magazins he only frequented for a time or which  had a very short life.

The Glass That Laughed was recently found in an issue from 1925 of a magazine that only lived two years. Haunting and disturbing, it reminds me of Edgar Allan Poe in many ways.
A short, good one.

A Bit of Candy in Hard Times by Blaine Beveridge

Set in the late 1920s, at the height of prohibition, this is the story of Emmett Dougal, fisherman and rumrunner who, after having his boat shot out from under him by the Coast Guard off the coast of Maine, decides to return to his Puget Sound roots. Emmett’s journey to rediscover a sense of home puts him on a dangerous path when he is forced back into the rum running business. Along the way he finds an unexpected love interest and rekindles his love for the sea.

I stumbled upon this novel by mere chance only a few days ago and I was intrigued by the focus it seems to have on the life of people more than on the events. Don’t get me wrong, I like my historical novels to be historically accurate. But I also like them to be focused on people rather than on events.

This seems to fit the bill.


From the day Jean Ball lands a job at the elegant Empire hotel, she quickly learns the secrets of the entitled class. Dazzled by a Roaring Twenties society on the cusp of radical change, this naive and innocent young woman finds herself dancing, bobbing her hair, and falling for Elden Whitcomb, the handsome son of the wealthy hotel owner. The stakes rise when the Whitcombs’ powerful secrets are revealed and loving Elden comes at a price – one that may be too high for Jean to pay.

Gang Roundup - December 2017 - Historical facts, historical novels, historical films and a lost Dashiell Hammett short story


  • Margot Kinberg
    Posted December 5, 2017 at 11:15

    I hope 2018 will be a better year for you, Sarah. In the meantime, I love this roundup, as always. I think Art Deco is fascinating, too, an it goes so well with the ’20s and ’30s era. And that secret society clubhouse? Who wouldn’t want to explore it!

    • Post Author
      Posted December 6, 2017 at 07:39

      Isn’t that club fantastic? Can you imagine living in such a place?

      I’ve been working to the Art Deco post since this summer and I can’t believe I still don’t have it ready!!!!!

  • Hilary
    Posted December 5, 2017 at 19:38

    Hi Sarah – congratulations on finishing NaNo … there are so many great films out there that I haven’t seen – I’d love to catch up sometime. I saw a wonderful exhibition by the children fro the East End of London re WW1 that I’ve yet to write up – left some papers in England, which I need to get sent over! – with their thoughts on what happened to the children of WW1 and that part of London … so much to see and learn about – cheers Hilary

    • Post Author
      Posted December 6, 2017 at 07:43

      That exibition about WWI sounds so intersting.
      Honestly, I’m surprised there isn’t more interest in WWI, especially considering the centennial. I’ve becomed interested in it last year, when I started to think about my stories set in Germany in the 1920s, and honestly I have never realised how important WWI is to us as Europeans. We always think to WWII (for many different and comprehensible reasons), but the Great War was just as important for our evolution as peoples of today.

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