Simon Winchester’s The Professor and the Madman was a fun little footnote of history expanded into an interesting book. The Oxford English Dictionary is THE authority for words in the english language and this book describes what was essentially the invention of dictionaries and the significance that had. The compilation of words for the dictionary required a massive effort so Professor James Murray requested the assistance of the public. That’s when Dr. W. C. Minor began contributing words and first usages to the OED. Minor contributed more than ten thousand words to the effort. He had the time to do this because he was an inmate at an asylum for the criminally insane. This book also offers an interesting look at such asylums, at least for wealthy men like Minor. It was a fun, interesting read.
Hello Girls was recommended via Twitter by an aspiring historian that I follow who was suggesting books about women in the military. This book is about the female telephone operators who managed the communications network for American forces in WWI. At the time, competent and experienced switchboard were needed to ensure timely and accurate communications on the front lines in France but the job was primarily held by women back home. The military switchboard operators were not proficient so General Pershing enlisted the women who were experts. I had no idea that women served not he front lines in WWI and I am glad I now know.