I was surprised to find the literary genre of science fiction arose partly out ballooning and dreams of flight - another case of Science meeting Art. So my cast list includes writers like Mary Shelley, Edgar Allan Poe, Victor Hugo, Charles Dickens, Jules Verne, and HG Wells, among many others.
Christopher Clark's book The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914 suggests another criterion. The worst month in history may be the one that sets the stage for the massive destruction to follow.
The history of literature is an unceasing paradox. What is the most popular scene in the Bible? Adam and Eve biting the apple. It's not there. Plato never wrote his most famous line: "Only the dead have seen the end of war."
Leonardo da Vinci bears the burden of great expectations. The undeniable breadth and depth of his genius means there was, it seems, no intellectual feat of which this original Renaissance Man was incapable.
It is time for a national conversation about what this country's history has really been -- good and bad, warts and all.
Received wisdom often leaves much to be desired. Here are a few examples of the myths and follies that make up much of our popular understanding of history.