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Born to a Quaker family in Pennsylvania, Butler joined the US Marines as a teenager. He was decorated for bravery and leadership and advanced through the ranks, but, after retiring, he became a proponent of isolationism and an outspoken critic of the government. He believed that he and the military had been used to further the business interests of wealthy Americans under the pretense of defending the country. According to legend, whose long-lost amputated arm did Butler once locate? Discuss
Korolenko was a Ukrainian-Russian writer. Arrested for revolutionary activities in 1879, he was sent to various places of exile where he wrote many of his lyrical short stories, notable for their descriptions of desolate nature and the lives of the poor. After 1895, he devoted himself to liberal journalism. Greatly honored in Russia, he reservedly welcomed the 1917 revolution but later opposed the Bolsheviks. His most famous story, "Makar's Dream," describes a dying peasant's dream—of what? Discuss
Perhaps the greatest American artist of the 19th century, Eakins lived, worked, and taught in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for most of his life. There, he painted The Gross Clinic in 1875. Depicting a surgical operation, it was initially criticized for being too realistic, but it is now seen as his masterpiece. Eakins was an influential art teacher, but his decision to use nude models of both sexes in mixed-gender classes caused an uproar. What incident led to his resignation in 1886? Discuss
Ford is an American actor who had minor roles on screen and TV before achieving stardom in George Lucas's 1977 hit movie Star Wars. He then took on the role of Indiana Jones and graduated to dramatic films like Blade Runner, Witness, and The Fugitive. His rugged good looks and wry charm made him one of the most popular actors of his day. A noted conservationist, Ford has had a species of spider and a species of ant named for him. How did he get the scar on his chin? Discuss
Mahler was an Austrian composer and conductor. After studying in Vienna, he conducted at numerous prominent opera houses where his high standards became legendary, but his refusal to compromise aroused intense personal opposition. He composed in his free time, mostly during the summer, and completed nine symphonies in his lifetime. The biggest success of his career—the 1910 premiere of his eighth symphony—was overshadowed by Mahler's discovery of his wife's affair with what famous architect? Discuss
In 1920, Coolidge was elected vice president of the US under Warren G. Harding, who died in 1923—making Coolidge president. Untouched by the scandals of the Harding administration, Coolidge was directly elected president in 1924. He was a popular and deliberately hands-off leader, and though he was an effective public speaker, he was a man of few words when out of the spotlight. Upon hearing that "Silent Cal" had died in 1933, writer Dorothy Parker is said to have delivered what famous remark? Discuss
Hesse was German novelist and poet who wrote about the individual's search for spiritual fulfillment, often through mysticism. His major works include Siddhartha and Steppenwolf. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1946. At around the time of his death in 1962, his novels began to enjoy a revival of popularity due to their association with some of the themes of the 1960s counterculture movement. What fellow German writers did Hesse help to escape from the Nazis? Discuss
Lipinski is an American figure skater who, at the age of 14, won both the US and World Championships, becoming the youngest person ever to win either title. In 1998, she also became the youngest individual gold medalist in Winter Olympic history. Shortly thereafter, she launched her professional skating career, a move that was sharply criticized by some. The next year, she became the youngest person to win the World Professional Figure Skating Championships. Why did she stop skating in 2002? Discuss
Before the planet Neptune was discovered, Adams—an English astronomer and mathematician—correctly predicted its existence and position based on irregularities in the motion of Uranus. However, the credit for the discovery went to Urbain Leverrier, who had come to the same conclusion later but published his findings earlier. In 1846, the planet was first observed by a German astronomer using Leverrier's calculations. A modest man, Adams also declined to publish what other findings? Discuss
While serving as consulting physician to Louis XV at Versailles, Quesnay developed an interest in economics. In his 1758 Tableau économique, he described the relationship between the different economic classes of society and the flow of payments among them, and he developed the concept of economic balance used by many later economic analysts. An advocate of laissez-faire economics, he believed that all wealth originated with the land. What school of economics is he credited with founding? Discuss
Dufy was a French designer and painter best known for his outdoor scenes of gaiety and leisure, like horse races, parades, and concerts. He also designed textiles and illustrated books. Dufy studied at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris and experimented with Impressionism and, later, Fauvism. In the early 1920s, he developed his distinctive style characterized by sketchily drawn objects on bright, decorative backgrounds. Later, he completed one of the largest modern paintings, an ode to what? Discuss
Charles IV was a 14th-century Holy Roman Emperor, German king, and king of Bohemia. He was educated at the French court and fought the English at Crécy, where the heroic death of his father, John of Luxemburg, made him king of Bohemia. Pope Clement VI, to whom he had promised far-reaching concessions, helped secure his election as anti-king to Holy Roman Emperor Louis IV. After the death of Louis in 1347, Charles claimed the crown. He is considered the father of what modern-day nation? Discuss
An experienced archaeologist and Egyptologist, Carter began searching for the long lost tomb of the ancient Egyptian king Tutankhamun in the early 1900s, excavating Valley of the Kings in Luxor, Egypt, through funding by his financial backer, Lord Carnarvon. In 1922, Carnarvon gave Carter one last season to make a discovery. He did, unearthing the pristine, treasure-filled tomb that became world famous. What fact about Carter's life is often used to refute the so-called Curse of the Pharaohs? Discuss
Mann overcame limited early education to enter law and politics. He became secretary of Massachusetts' new board of education in 1837, at a time when the public school system was in poor condition. In his 12 years there, he established high schools, enhanced teacher training and pay, curbed child labor, and improved facilities and equipment. He fought for free, nonsectarian, universal schooling, greatly advancing education in the US. What quote is engraved on his monument at Antioch College? Discuss
Grotius was a Dutch jurist, philosopher, and writer. He enrolled at the University of Leiden at the age of 11 and became a lawyer at 15. Among his key legal treatises is the first definitive text on international law, On the Law of War and Peace, which prescribes rules for the conduct of war and advances the idea that nations are bound by natural law. In 1615, he became involved in a religious controversy that extended to politics and was eventually imprisoned. How did he escape? Discuss
Chaney was an American silent-film actor. Born to parents who were both deaf and mute, he learned to express himself through pantomime at an early age. He moved to Hollywood in 1912 and became one of the biggest stars of the time, appearing in more than 150 silent films. Known as "the man of a thousand faces," he masterfully used makeup to play tortured, grotesque characters in horror films such as The Phantom of the Opera. How did fake snow made of corn flakes contribute to his death? Discuss
Despite being a dominant force in the US Democratic Party, Bryan lost three bids for the presidency. However, he helped secure the presidential nomination for Woodrow Wilson, under whom he became secretary of state. Bryan's belief in neutrality led him to resign when it appeared that Wilson would enter the US into World War I. A devout Presbyterian, he later campaigned for Prohibition and, in 1925, died after exhausting himself prosecuting and finally winning what famous legal case? Discuss
Updike was a prolific American author whose novels and stories usually deal with the tensions and frustrations of middle-class life. Published between 1961 and 1990, his four famous "Rabbit" novels follow an ordinary American man through the latter decades of the 20th century. Updike is one of the few authors to have won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction more than once. He was also a respected literary critic who championed young authors and espoused what five rules for literary criticism? Discuss
The seventh US president, Jackson was a child of the frontier and lost his entire family in the American Revolution. He was just 14 at the time and was already a member of the local militia. After emerging from the War of 1812 a hero for his defense of New Orleans, he rode a wave of popularity to the presidency in 1828. He was seen as a champion of the common man, but he relentlessly displaced many Native Americans. His wife died weeks before his inauguration. Why did he have to marry her twice? Discuss
Nijinsky was a ballet dancer and ballet's first modernist choreographer. One of the greatest dancers of the 20th century, he performed spectacular leaps with unrivaled grace. During his career, his innovations were considered both scandalous and revolutionary. He had a romantic relationship with his mentor, Sergey Diaghilev, who dismissed him from the Ballets Russes when he married a Hungarian countess. A few years later, acute schizophrenia ended his career. Did he and Diaghilev ever reconcile? Discuss
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