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Questions tagged [biography]

Questions related to the history of biographies, being detailed descriptions of a person's life and including more than mere basic facts - often exploring aspects of personality and formative events.

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What were John Milton's daily reading habits?

In a college course on John Milton, I believe I remember the professor saying that Milton had an extremely rigorous daily reading schedule, something like one hour of Greek and two hours of Hebrew ...
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3k views

Did Emanuel Lasker write a book declaring that Germany had to win World War I if civilization were to be saved?

Emanuel Lasker, the second chess world champion, was a very interesting person. I read here that During World War I, Lasker […] invested all of his money in German war bonds. At the end of ...
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161 views

What does Carlyle mean by 'essence' in 'History is the essence of innumerable Biographies'?

I have read Carlyle's 1830 essay on history with its famous paragraph : Before Philosophy can teach by Experience, the Philosophy has to be in readiness, the Experience must be gathered and ...
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357 views

When the national leader is a foreigner

In a question about leaders who rose quickly from "nothing" to supreme power, someone suggested Hitler, someone else Napoleon, then it was noticed that Hitler was a foreigner (Austrian who came into ...
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Accuracy of the Show “I Go On Singing”

I recently saw a show about the life of Paul Robeson called I Go On Singing. It was a good show, but it contained several assertions that made me wonder. Tens of thousands of slaves escaped to ...
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485 views

Was Jawaharlal Nehru virtually a Buddhist?

At the end of this conversation (in the podcast version at 46'30") about Ashoka the Great scholar of Buddhism Richard Gombrich made this remark: The Indian flag has [Ashoka's] wheel of the dharma ...
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2answers
109 views

Who were these two conspirators against Titus?

Suetonius has this to tell us in Chapter 9 of his biography of Titus: When two men of patrician family were found guilty of aspiring to the throne, he satisfied himself with warning them to ...
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2answers
386 views

Would Plutarch be considered a historian by modern standards?

I've been reading his "Parallel Lives" and it's clear part of the goal is to tell how some fundamental characters lived, so people can know their stories, but the other part is to set and reinforce a ...
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Is this character based on a real person?

In the 2014 historical novel Natchez Burning, by Greg Iles, chapter 29: A black Mississippian who left his native state in the early 1950s to go to law school, Quentin Avery fought on the front ...
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1answer
890 views

Did Ben Franklin actually make any tofu?

It is well documented that Franklin was interested in tofu, which he called a sort of cheese made from beans, and he got a recipe for making it that he sent on to others. But no source that I have ...
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354 views

Why was A.K.Gastev purged in 1939?

Gastev was the chief Soviet proponent of Taylorism, aka scientific management: In the Soviet Union, Taylorism was advocated by Aleksei Gastev and nauchnaia organizatsia truda (the movement for ...
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Did Pythagoras visit Judaea, Arabia, and/or India?

From Wikipedia's page on Pythagoras: Diogenes Laertius reported that Pythagoras had undertaken extensive travels, and had visited not only Egypt, but Arabia, Phoenicia, Judaea, Babylon, and even ...
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Scientists who became major political leaders [closed]

What examples can you find of these? I want the list to include people who satisfy two criteria: (a) Major political leader = king, president, prime-minister, very senior cabinet minister, mayor of ...