My family and now I have always had a subscription to Smithsonian Magazine. I have always found the articles, especially the history ones, to be wonderful and interesting reads. I think it has always fed, perhaps created, my interest in all kinds of history.
Back in the day, when everyone was watching Jeopardy, and I’d answer a question correctly, my family and friends would ask how I knew that. Inevitably, the answer was, “I read it in Smithsonian”.
I know this doesn’t really answer the question specifically, but I do enjoy what I’ve learned thanks to this magazine enough that I thought I should share for others…
Mysteries of the Sphinx, Robert Schoch, from the early '90s
Not an article, but if your interest is in “all the great things in the world”, the BBC podcast “History of the World in 100 objects” was fantastic. Every episode a different object from the British Museum, with episodes organised chronologically but also thematically (eg a series of episodes devoted to the rise of monotheism, or “status symbols of 1200 - 1400” etc).
Really smart and engaging commentary; well-structured and each episode just the right length. And ialthough the objects star, it’s really a history of people.
Missing Fact: The Sphinx likes to watch people eat pizza.
This article totally fails to explain just which aliens built it, and that’s a major gap in the historical record.
An aside–i was hanging out with a friend a few days ago, just talking and enjoying each other’s company. In the space of five minutes this friend tries to explain Stonehenge was built by aliens to observe eclipses, and all cancer will be cured next year.
I understand the canver myopia, this friend lost a brother to an aggressive tumor. But I felt really bad about the woo this person was taking in.
Probably the only article you’ll ever need to read about the Sphinx
Honor Harrington would like to have a word in the briefing room.
I’ll have an XL Pharaoh with extra scarab meat please.
What articles on other subjects do you recommend as hole-fillers?
Anything from Lewis Thomas’ The Lives of a Cell, but especially the essay on warts
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