Posts Tagged ‘truth’
Allegedly the walls of the gas chamber at Auschwitz. not been able to confirm…
One of the most famous British images of World War One is the recruitment poster featuring a moustachioed Lord Kitchener, finger pointing out, saying ‘Your Country Needs You’. But historian James Taylor has been doing some digging, and he’s discovered that the truth is a little different. It was not, as usually thought, widely distributed and responsible for filling the ranks of the army, in fact it wasn’t a poster at all. This Telegraph article sums up the conclusions, but Taylor has written a whole book if you’re interested, called ‘Your Country Needs You.’
Congratulations to Paul Harvey for winning the UCCS Chancellor’s Award. The author of so many terrific books; the editor of a blog that we read for some unknown reason; a passionate teacher who tries not to get too upset with his students who still, for yet other unknown reasons, support the Confederacy (or at least its “rights”), Paul has another trophy to put on his mantle. Now, if only he could win some kind of award for his jumper.
A subject that has long fascinated Americans of every age is that of George Washington and his false teeth. Standing at over six feet tall with a lean, muscular body, George Washington embodied physical toughness and rugged strength. He successfully fought off many illnesses in his life, but one area of his physique that showed serious wear and vulnerability was his mouth. Washington had terrible dental health.
Tooth decay was, of course, a serious problem prior to modern era advances in dentistry. Not surprisingly, Washington fell victim to this malady. Unfortunately for Washington, it was a particularly painful and debilitating struggle. In his magisterial biography Washington, Pulitzer Prize winning biographer Ron Chernow writes that Washington’s problems were “so severe as to be incapacitating and affected his life in numberless ways.”
Over the years, Washington lost one tooth after another. By the time he became President of the United States, he had a single tooth of his own remaining. To compensate for this, Washington required dentures. Contrary to popular belief, Washington’s false teeth were not wooden. According to Chernow, Washington’s dentures consisted of “natural teeth, inserted into a framework of hippopotamus ivory and anchored on Washington’s one surviving tooth.” Chernow says that the myth of Washington’s false teeth being made of wood stems from the “gradual staining of hairline fractures in the ivory that made it resemble a wood grain.”
Washington’s dentures painfully distorted his mouth and facial features. The need to so often set his jaws a certain way and tightly close his mouth probably enhanced his tendency to keep a tight rein on his words and emotions. That he lived with pain and discomfort every day undoubtedly bolstered his work ethic, sense of discipline, and dogged persistence. I will leave it to psychologists to more fully explore the ramifications and consequences of George Washington’s false teeth, but it’s safe to say that they did have an impact on him and thus, at least indirectly, on our nation as well.