history religion

Kirtland Temple Sold to TCOJCOLDS

The other day the news leaked that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had purchased the Kirtland Temple.

Kirtland, not Kirkland, and not a “miracle”, after all, it turns out it’s true you can buy anything in this world for money, but still it’s a historic sale.

From The Church News:

Today, Tuesday, March 5, 2024, the responsibility and ownership for the Kirtland Temple, several historic buildings in Nauvoo, and various manuscripts and artifacts officially transferred from Community of Christ to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for an agreed-upon amount. Together, we share an interest in and reverence for these historic sites and items and are committed to preserving them for future generations.

Rumour has it the agreed upon amount is a whooping $192.5 million USD. Included in the sale:

  • The Bible used in the Joseph Smith Translation
  • Manuscripts of the Joseph Smith Translation
  • Seven letters from Smith to his wife Emma
  • A history of the church written by John Whitmer
  • The original David Rogers portraits of Joseph and Emma Smith
  • The cornerstone of the Nauvoo House, used to store the original Book of Mormon manuscript
  • The original door of Missouri’s Liberty Jail, where Joseph, Hyrum, Sidney Rigdon, Lyman Wight, Alexander McRae, and Caleb Baldwin were famously held captive.
  • A document with the title of ‘Caractors,’ which are alleged to contain a sample of inscriptions from the gold plates. (In 2017, the church bought the printer’s manuscript of the Book of Mormon from the Community of Christ for $35 million — an amount one historian called a bargain.)
  • Joseph Smith’s writing desk from the Kirtland Temple.
  • Emma Smith’s walking stick.
  • The home of Sidney Rigdon and wife Phebe.
  • The Smith Homestead
  • The Mansion house
  • The Nauvoo house
  • The Red Brick Store
  • Other homes and significant documents that belonged to early members.

This video about the news leaking explains how it went down:

article history

The Quebec Cannonball in a Tree

The other day I learned that the tourist attraction and historical artifact, an English cannonball in a Quebec City tree is no longer there. I also learned that it probably wasn’t a cannonball, although it was likely built to be a bomb (at one point).

CBC posted the article about its history and removal last year:

It took three days of hard work, but the famous “cannonball” trapped in the roots of an American elm tree on the side of a historic street in Quebec City has been removed without any booming surprises.

Below is a photo I took of the famous tree in 2010. I was told it is believed that the ball was a cannonball shot at the French from an English ship during the multi-year siege before the Battle of the Plains of Abraham.

Historian Jean-Marie Lebel did his own investigation into the unmarked ball and published his findings in the June 2015 article for Prestige magazine which can still be found online.

He determined the cannonball is not a cannonball at all as those tended to be smaller and made of lead.

The ball is actually a bomb, he wrote.

Bombs like this one were hollow, metallic projectiles which were charged with an incendiary material like a cloth rag and ignited with a fuse.

So if it wasn’t a cannonball fired into the city by the English in 1759 in the siege before the Battle of the Plains of Abraham, then how did this “bomb” get there?

The ball was likely there on purpose, installed as a wheel guard to protect homes from passing carriages, the article says.

These retrofitted bombs were affixed to a metal rod that was then inserted into the ground like the bollards of today that can stop trucks in their tracks.

A photo from 1908 shows bombs which have been transformed into wheel guards to protect the fronts of houses on Corps-de-Garde Street. (Courtesty of the Collection Gino Gariépy)

I liked it better when I thought it was fired there in the famous battle but I never should have fallen for it. For one thing, the “cannonball” would have had to have been there for 251 years when I saw it in 2010. Obviously the tree wouldn’t have been that old. Oh well, it’s satisfying to know the truth even if the fiction was more interesting.

family history

Benjamin Franklin Milner

My great grandfather, Benjamin Franklin “Frank” Milner is buried beside his wife Ella in the Temple Hill Cemetery1 near Raymond, Ab. I remember we’d always take the time to check out his gravestone whenever we visited there but even my dad is too young to have known Frank, since my dad was born 18 years after he died. It’s not surprising though because my Great Grandpa Milner was really old. For some perspective, he was born seven years before the start of the American Civil War and another full 40 years before Utah achieved statehood.

I don’t know too much about Frank except what I’ve read in the excerpt below from p.196-198 of Valiant in the Faith, with spelling corrections, notes, and links added by me.

  1. My grandpa Marshall used to jokingly call it Boot Hill. Boot Hill is the name or nickname of many cemeteries in the old west with reputations for the number of men that died with their boots on (presumably involving gun play or hangings). The Raymond cemetary was called Temple Hill because of the hope and plans by the folks in Raymond to have the first latter-day saint temple built there—ultimately the Alberta Temple got built in Cardston much to the multigenerational disappointment of the locals in Raymond. I guess a cemetery is the next best thing?[]
crime culture history Politics religion

The Title of Liberty

Despite LDS church officials distancing themselves from fringe conspiracy theories and congratulating incoming President elect Biden, we still witness the embarrassment of a Mormon proudly participating in yesterday’s debacle and broadcasting their association with the church publicly by flying the “title of liberty” pictured above and cosplaying as a warrior from the Book of Mormon.

From Wikipedia:

Moroni [a character from the Book of Mormon] is associated with the “title of liberty”, a standard that he raised to rally the Nephites to defend their liberties from a group of dissenters who wanted to establish their leader as a king. Moroni was so angry with Amalickiah’s dissention and wicked influence that he tore his coat and wrote upon it, “In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children.” With those words, he rallied his people to defend their families and their freedom and drive out the armies of Amalickiah. Moroni put to death any dissenters who did not flee and would not support the cause of freedom, and his ” title of liberty” was raised over every Nephite tower.

I guess I’m more disgusted by the so called Saints participating in this madness than others because of my background in the church and the sensitivity church members have with regard to fighting against the United States government. See also Articles of Faith: “12 We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.”

There are lunatics within any large enough group of people, but I even know some — heck, am related to them — that would not surprise me to hear they went to this level. (By his body size, I certainly don’t think this is someone that I know.)

As I mentioned previously, it shocks me the level of support Mormons give Trump.

Update: These tweets sum it up for me:

family history

Valiant in the Faith – Gardner and Sarah Snow and Their Family pdf

Valiant in the Faith – Gardner and Sarah Snow and Their Family by Archibald F. Bennett and Ella M. Bennett is a book of genealogy and stories about descendants of the Gardner Snow family of which I am one.

I’ve learned a few interesting things about the book. The author, Ella M. Bennett, it turns out, is actually my dad’s aunt. The other author, her husband Archibald Bennett, is a semi-famous genealogist. He happens to have worked as a school teacher at a couple of the same schools as me (Taber and Barnwell). My dad tells me they never finished the book while they were alive and it was their kids that did a lot of work completing it.

An interesting story shared in the book is that my Great Great Grandmother, Sarah Jane Snow, was born on the day of the Haun’s Mill massacre.

Disney history

Not on Disney+

In contrast to the list of Disney+ content I posted recently, The Internet Archive has a pretty comprehensive collection of Disney movies/shorts that will not be hitting Disney+ any time soon. Take a peek at some of the racism, sexism, propaganda, and other controversial topics of media giant’s past after the jump:


2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season Fast Facts

It’s been a horrific year for storms coming out of the Atlantic / Caribbean. Below is the summary of tropical storms so far this year as reported on CNN’s 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season Fast Facts.

Tropical Storm Arlene
April 20, 2017 – Tropical Storm Arlene forms in the central Atlantic Ocean. According to the National Hurricane Center, April tropical storms are rare, and this is only the second one (the first was 2003’s Tropical Storm Ana) since the use of satellite.
April 21, 2017 – Arlene moves southwest and south until it dissipates.
Tropical Storm Bret
June 19, 2017 – Tropical Storm Bret forms about 125 miles southeast of Trinidad.
June 20, 2017 – Weakens into a tropical wave.
Tropical Storm Cindy
June 20, 2017 – Tropical Storm Cindy forms in the Gulf of Mexico, about 265 miles south of Morgan City, Louisiana.
June 22, 2017 – Makes landfall just south of Lake Charles, Louisiana. Later weakens to a tropical depression.
Tropical Storm Don
July 17, 2017 – Tropical Storm Don forms about 485 miles east-southeast of Barbados. Weakens to an open wave the next day.
Tropical Storm Emily
July 31, 2017 – Tropical Storm Emily forms near the west coast of Florida and makes landfall on Anna Maria Island. Weakens to a tropical depression after making landfall.
Hurricane Franklin
August 6, 2017 – Tropical Storm Franklin forms over the northwestern Caribbean.
August 7, 2017 – Makes landfall on the eastern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula.
August 9, 2017 – Franklin becomes a Category 1 hurricane about 105 miles northeast of Veracruz, Mexico.
August 10, 2017 – Makes landfall in Veracruz, Mexico. Later, Franklin weakens to a tropical storm and then dissipates.
Hurricane Gert
August 13, 2017 – Tropical Storm Gert forms in the Atlantic Ocean.
August 14, 2017 – Gert becomes a hurricane, the second of the season.
August 17, 2017 – Weakens to a post-tropical cyclone.
Hurricane Harvey
August 17, 2017 – Tropical Storm Harvey forms about 250 miles east of Barbados.
August 24, 2017 – Harvey strengthens into a hurricane.
August 25, 2017 – Harvey makes landfall between Port Aransas and Port O’Connor, Texas, as a Category 4 storm with winds of 130 mph. Harvey is the first Category 4 hurricane to make landfall in the United States since Hurricane Charley in 2004.
August 26-29, 2017 – Harvey is downgraded to a tropical storm, but stalls over land causing extreme flooding in Texas.
August 30, 2017 – After retreating from the Houston area back to the Gulf of Mexico, Harvey slowly moves northeast and makes a second landfall near Cameron, Louisiana.
— The death toll from Harvey is at least 57 deaths. Harvey dumped an estimated 27 trillion gallons of rain over Texas and Louisiana during a six-day period, according to WeatherBell, and also set a record for the most rainfall ever from a tropical cyclone in the continental US, at 51 inches of rain. Estimates put eventual total losses at as much as $75 billion.
Hurricane Irma
August 30, 2017 – Tropical Storm Irma forms 420 miles west of the Cabo Verde Islands.
August 31, 2017 – Irma becomes a hurricane and intensifies into a Category 3 hurricane.
September 4, 2017 – Irma strengthens to a Category 4 hurricane about 490 miles east of the Leeward Islands.
September 5, 2017 – Intensifies into a “potentially catastrophic” Category 5 hurricane as it roars toward the northeastern Caribbean islands.
September 6, 2017 – Hits Antigua, Barbuda St. Martin, Anguilla, St. Kitts and Nevis, US Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, causing major damage and devastation to many of the islands.
September 7-8, 2017 – Causes major damage to the Dominican Republic as it passes along the northern coast of Hispaniola. Blasts through Turks and Caicos overnight.
September 8-9, 2017 – Makes landfall in Cuba overnight as a Category 5 storm, with winds of 125 mph. The Bahamas are hit by hurricane-force winds. At least 24 people have died in the Caribbean.
September 10, 2017 – The Florida Keys take a direct hit from Irma as a Category 4 storm. Initial estimates are that 25% of houses on the island chain are destroyed, and 65% have major damage. Irma moves on to hit Marco Island as a Category 3 storm, then travels up the Gulf of Mexico to pummel Naples, Florida.
September 11, 2017 – Irma is downgraded to a tropical storm in north Florida, and to a tropical depression soon after its wind gusts hit Atlanta, causing power outages and downed trees.
Hurricane Jose
September 5, 2017 – Tropical Storm Jose forms about 1500 miles east of the Lesser Antilles.
September 6, 2017 – Jose strengthens into a hurricane.
September 8, 2017 – Becomes a Category 4 hurricane, east and southeast of the northern Leeward Islands.
September 14, 2017 – Weakens to a tropical storm.
September 15, 2017 – Becomes a hurricane again as it makes its way up the Atlantic, east of the US coast.
Hurricane Katia
September 6, 2017 – Tropical Storm Katia forms in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico and strengthens into a hurricane the same day.
September 8, 2017 – Makes landfall in eastern Mexico, in the state of Veracruz, as a Category 1 hurricane.
September 9, 2017 – Weakens to a tropical storm as it moves inland in Mexico.
Tropical Storm Lee
September 16, 2017 – Tropical Storm Lee forms in the eastern Atlantic Ocean, west and southwest of Cabo Verde islands.
September 17, 2017 – Weakens to a tropical depression.
Hurricane Maria
September 16, 2017 Tropical Storm Maria forms about 620 miles east-southeast of lesser Antilles.
September 17-18, 2017Maria rapidly intensifies from a tropical storm into a Category 5 hurricane.
September 18, 2017 The storm hits the Caribbean island of Dominica as a Category 5 hurricane and devastates the area.
September 20, 2017Makes landfall near Yabucoa in Puerto Rico as a Category 4 hurricane. It is the strongest storm to hit Puerto Rico in 85 years. The energy grid is heavily damaged, with an island-wide power outage. Restoring electricity may take months, the governor of Puerto Rico says. The storm also hits the US Virgin Islands, where at least one person dies, likely from drowning.
September 22, 2017The National Weather Service orders the evacuation of about 70,000 people living near the Guajataca River in northwest Puerto Rico because a dam is in danger of failing. The storm continues to churn northward, making landfall in the Caribbean islands of Turks and Caicos as a Category 3 hurricane.
September 25, 2017Only a few medical centers on the island have working generators and at least three hospitals lack running water. Shortages of medical supplies are reported.
September 26, 2017Maria weakens to a tropical storm as it heads northeast out to sea.
— The death toll from Maria is at least 45 people in Puerto Rico and at least 15 in Dominica.
Hurricane Nate
October 5, 2017 – Tropical Storm Nate forms near the coast of Nicaragua. At least 28 people are killed after Nate passes over Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Honduras. Hundreds are rescued from floodwaters and mudslides. Many lose power and running water.
October 6, 2017 – Nate strengthens into a hurricane about 95 miles west-northwest from the western tip of Cuba.
October 7, 2017 – Hurricane Nate makes US landfall as a Category 1 storm near the mouth of the Mississippi River in southeast Louisiana.
October 8, 2017 – Nate makes its second and final US landfall early in the morning as a Category 1 hurricane near Biloxi, Mississippi, and is later downgraded to a tropical depression.
Tropical Storm Ophelia
October 9, 2017 – Tropical Storm Ophelia forms in the Atlantic Ocean.
October 11, 2017 – Strengthens to a hurricane.
October 14, 2017 – Hurricane Ophelia strengthens into a Category 3 storm about 220 miles south of the Azores. Ophelia is the farthest east that a major hurricane has ever been in the Atlantic. The previous record was held by Frances in 1980, according to CNN Meteorologist Haley Brink.
October 15, 2017 – Ophelia weakens from a Category 3 to a Category 1 hurricane throughout the day.
October 16, 2017 – Ophelia makes landfall as a post-tropical storm in Ireland. Three deaths are attributed to the storm.
Tropical Storm Philippe
October 28, 2017 – Tropical Storm Philippe forms in the Atlantic Ocean. It dissipates the following day.
Tropical Storm Rina
November 6, 2017 – Tropical Storm Rina forms about 890 miles east of Bermuda.
November 9, 2017 – Weakens to a post-tropical cyclone.

Art history

History of the Entire World, I guess

family history

Esther “Elizabeth” Yardley Thurman Milner

Last month I found myself hunting down family history about my great great grandfather, John Brewitt Milner (1830-1912), and learned a great deal about his life and especially his life changing decision to join the newly formed Mormon religion — the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (though it wasn’t called that back then) — and come to America to be with other Mormons in Zion.

What occured to me this morning was that it’s a distinctly patriarchal way to think of my ancestery only in terms of grandfathers and so after some quick web searching, what I discovered is the life history of John Brewitt’s first wife, my great great grandmother, Esther “Elizabeth” Yardley Thurman Milner (1825-1911). Pasted here for posterity:

Life History of Esther Elizabeth Yardley Thurman Milner

Esther Elizabeth Yardley was born January 24, 1825 at Tanworth, Warwickshire County, England. Her parents were Thomas Yardley and Mary Rose of Tanworth. She was the oldest of 12 children. The youngest were twins. They lived and died the same day.

Tanworth stands high midway between the two main roads which run to Birmingham from Strutfar on Avon on the east, and Alcester on the west. The church is a conspicuous landmark seen for many miles by the traveler on either of these routes. Tanworth was originally a clearing in the Forest of Arden. There is still to be seen an old oak at Beaumonts in the parish, said to be one of the old oaks of the Forest.

The Yardley family is an old Tanworth family living there as far back as 1557 and many descendants are scattered all over the world. A number of the family of Yardley have become distinguished people, such as George Yardley, First Governor of Virginia in America.

Elizabeth Yardley was born and educated in Tanworth and had much the same girlhood experiences as other girls at that time. Most everyone in the community belonged to the same church. When a young woman she went to take charge of her bachelor uncle’s household and servants in Birmingham England. She became acquainted with and married Thomas Edward Thurman in 1848.

Soon after marriage she and her husband heard the Mormon Elders preach the gospel. They were converted and joined the new church. She was baptized in March, 1850. Her people were very much against this new religion and did everything they could to persuade her against joining the Mormon Chruch, but she was steadfast in her belief. When they found out they couldn’t change her viewpoint, they disinherited her and from then on had nothing to do with her. Later, I am told, a sister joined the church and came to Utah. (Mary Ann Yardley)

Esther’s husband, Thomas E. Thurman, was born December 21, 1821 and baptized in the church in May, 1849 by Elder Godsal. He had a confectionary store, and also worked as a sadler. Three years after their marriage he was stricken with smallpox. When he knew he couldn’t get better he called her to him and his dying request was to take their son, Thomas Edward Thurman and go to Zion. She was pregnant at the time of his death and a child named Victoria was born soon after.

She prepared for her journey to America. Her oldest uncle was sympathetic with her and assisted her in getting ready for the trip. She sold all her household articles and only took what necessities she had to have. This was a great trial for these noble pioneers to leave their families and friends and embark for a strange new country. She secured passage on one of the sailboats of that day. They sailed from Liverpool April 19, 1853. they were seven weeks on the water and while out to sea the baby, Victoria, died and was buried at sea.

I also found another version of her life events from this source by Jeff Von Ward. (Again copy/pasted for record keeping purposes):

24 Jan 1825 – 29 Sept 1911

Esther is my third great grandmother on my mother’s mother’s side. She was born in Tanworth-in-Arden, Warwick, England. She was the oldest of thirteen children born to Thomas and Mary Rose Yardley and learned early on how to help her mother with the duties of raising a large family, becoming a good cook and pitching in with the housekeeping. While still a teenager, Esther moved to Birmingham to run her uncle’s household.

In Birmingham, she met Thomas Edward Thurman. The young couple married on 6 Nov 1848. The two had heard of the Mormons through visiting missionaries and agreed to attend their services. Legend has it that when Esther heard the hymn “O My Father”, she immediately formed a testimony for the truthfulness of the Mormon church. Esther and Thomas were both baptized on 7 Mar 1849.

The couple had two children, a boy and a girl, but their daughter died just a few weeks after she was born. Shortly after, Thomas himself died of tuberculosis. Esther, forced to make her own way, opened a pastry shop and ran a boarding house. One of her customers was Charles Dickens, who was said to have later portrayed her as a pleasant and plump matron of an inn in one of his novels.

A few years later, on 5 Feb 1853, Esther and her son left England aboard The Jersey and, six weeks later, they arrived in New Orleans, before making their way north to Keokuk, Iowa, a staging ground for immigrant Mormon pioneers. Here, Esther outfitted herself with a riding horse and a cow for milking. It is said she walked the whole way across the plains so her son and others could ride the horse.

While on the journey toward the Utah Valley, she met John Brewitt Milner. The couple married the following spring and settled in Provo, Utah.

They had seven children, including one daughter who died in infancy. Their fourth daughter, Sarah Ann Milner, my second great grandmother, was born on 29 May 1862 in Provo, Utah.

I couldn’t find much anything about Esther Elizabeth’s later life. Many years ago my dad went to John Brewitt’s gravesite and was shocked to discover her grave was not beside our grandfathers, instead, it was explained by a cousin, “oh no she divorced John Brewitt Milner and is buried some other place”. The story about why they divorced was at least partially about her feelings on polygamy and not being too happy about/with the other wives.

Update: January 3rd, 2019

Esther Elizabeth Yardley Milner

Written on Facebook by Tom Milner

I’ve always enjoyed stories from Charles Dickens, and of all the many memories versions of “A Christmas Carol, I prefer the 1970 Version Scrooge the Musical, only the British could have caught and preserved a certain spirit in that wonderful production.

I hesitate to share this next story because it is deeply personal but I think it’s time others know a family history story.

The woman in this picture is Esther Elizabeth Yardley Milner, my second Great Grandmother.

Esther had been married previously to a man other than my grandfather but, coincidentally I happen to have received his name, he was Thomas Edward Thurman and her first son was appropriately named after the first husband Thomas E. Thurman, upon the death of Thomas E. Thurman Sr, Esther married John Brewitt Milner and many years later I was named Thomas Edward Milner.

Esther Yardley Milner has a unique history, when her husband died, she moved to London and opened a Sweet shop close to the London residence or at least working area of Mr. Charles Dickens.

Mr. Dickens came in to the little shop daily and would visit with Grandmother he would unload his problems to her and others know of this but I will not disclose them here 

But it was clear that he had a friendship but not at all in a romantic way she was simply his friend.

Grandmother spoke of these things and the stories were passed in our family, about forty years ago one  of my cousins was in London doing family history research and located the deed with Esther’s name on it and even as she had stated it was near to Mr Dickens.

The entire world knows that Charles Dickens portrayed his friends and associates in his novels, and Esther was portrayed in the novel Martin Chuzzlewit, she never bragged but simply said in reference to the novel that he treated her well.

She is portrayed as the character Mrs Lupin, but what is really funny is the description of Mrs Lupin presented by Mr Dickens as follows..

“The mistress of the Blue Dragon was in outward appearance just what a landlady should be: broad, buxom, comfortable, and good looking, with a face of clear red and white, which, by its jovial aspect, at once bore testimony to her hearty participation in the good things of the larder and cellar, and to their thriving and healthful influences. She was a widow, but years ago had passed through her state of weeds, and burst into flower again; and in full bloom she had continued ever since; and in full bloom she was now; with roses on her ample skirts, and roses on her bodice, roses in her cap, roses in her cheeks,—aye, and roses, worth the

gathering too, on her lips, for that matter. She had still a bright black eye, and jet black hair; was comely, dimpled, plump, and

tight as a gooseberry; and though she was not exactly what the world calls young, you may make an affidavit, on trust, before any

mayor or magistrate in Christendom, that there are a great many young ladies in the world (blessings on them one and all!) whom

you wouldn’t like half as well, or admire half as much, as the beaming hostess of the Blue Dragon.”

The Blue Dragon spoken off is an inn  and when Grandmother established herself in Provo, she in fact did run an inn, (talk about life following art)

Grandfather Milner had been an attorney and became a judge, he was counsel to George Albert Smith and accompanied him to Washington DC when we’re trying to establish statehood.

So, people had become acquainted with Esther’s history as  the character Mrs Lupin and these dignitaries would stay at the inn when visiting Utah. 

With the knowledge that Grandmother had the little sweet shop and Mr Dickens did in fact frequent it, there is a statement Charles Dickens made when the Latter-day saint groups were leaving England and Grandmother did in fact leave with those groups. 

It has been noted that when these people were leaving he said 

“There goes the cream of England” 

I cannot be certain of this but I think he was making a pun which would have been well understood by those whom knew and we’re well aware of his daily visits to the sweetie shop where his treats were most likely cream based for the greater part.

And now you know, but read the description of Mrs Lupin and look at Grandmother’s face!

BTW this picture was taken approximately 50 years later so her hair followed accordingly.


Here is a picture of her as illustrated in Charles Dickens book Martin Chuzzlewit:


The Kyoto Misconception

The feature image above shows me in front of the Kinkaku-ji, The Golden Temple in Kyoto Japan, 1993. Kyoto’s beauty and rich history stuck with me all these years since. I can easily see how visiting such a place dramatically changes your opinion.

On August 6 and 9, 1945 the United States bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki with the most powerful weapon the world had ever seen. It turns out, Kyoto was almost sealed to the same fate but was saved (at least partially) by someone’s personal experience.

Kyoto was spared because of a personal intervention: the US Secretary of War, Henry L. Stimson, did not think it should be bombed. This story has been told many times, often as an example of how thin a line there is between life and death, mercy and destruction. But there’s an angle to this story that I think has gone overlooked: how the debate about targeting Kyoto led President Truman to a crucial misunderstanding about the nature of the atomic bomb.

Fascinating and thought-provoking read: The Kyoto Misconception.