Friday, October 12, 2018

Centennial of the End of WWI

Where will you be on November 11, 2018?  This day will mark the one hundredth anniversary of the end of World War I.  In America it will be a very special Veteran's Day.  In Britain it will be a very special Remembrance Day.  The occasion will be observed around the world to remember a war that tore asunder the peace of the world beginning in August of 1914.

In 2016 I edited and published An Adventure in 1914 a memoir about my great-grandfather's eyewitness account of the start of World War I.  He was a New York lawyer who was traveling with his family in Europe in the summer of 1914.  They had been crossing the Atlantic on June 28, 1911 when Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife were assassinated in Sarajevo.  This horrific event proved to be the catalyst for the start of World War I.

In An Adventure in 1914's Epilogue I wrote, "It was the original catastrophe of the twentieth century that sowed the seeds for future tragedies. The war shattered the stability of much of the world and destroyed four empires: Austro-Hungarian, German, Ottoman, and Russian. The Bolshevik Revolution in Russia would have bloody consequences for the remainder of the twentieth century. The bitter peace of Versailles would lay the groundwork for World War II. France’s Marshal Ferdinand Foch proved to be a modern Cassandra when he declared, “This is not peace. It is an armistice for twenty years."

After over four years of war on the Western Front and in battlefields around the world the guns finally fell silent on the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918.  All was finally quiet on the Western Front.

Cenotaph, London

On November 11, 2018 people will gather around the world to commemorate the end of this momentous conflict that shaped our world.  They will gather at the Cenotaph in London which notes  The Glorious Dead" who perished in that fearsome war.  They will gather at Arlington cemetery, St. Mihiel in France and many other American cemeteries overseas to mark the solemn occasion.  They will gather in Yekaterinburg, Russia to remember the execution of the Romanov family one hundred years ago.

SS Canopic

I am honored and excited to announce that I will be on board the Azamara Pursuit crossing the Atlantic on November 11, 2018.  We will be following in the footsteps of Thomas Wells, my great-grandfather, who took his family from Naples, Italy to Boston on board the SS Canopic which was a ship in the White Star line.  On November 6, 2018 we will journey from Barcelona, Spain arriving in  Miami, Florida on November 20, 2018. The SS Canopic made a port call at Gibraltar in 1914 and we will do the same in 2018.  Unlike Wells and his fellow passengers in 1914, we will not fear that any ship on the horizon could prove to be an Imperial German Cruiser determined to sink us!

The Azamara Pursuit is a luxury liner that has been newly refurbished earlier this year.

I am excited to be giving a series of lectures on historical topics throughout the cruise...

Azamara Pursuit
Barcelona to Miami
11/6 /18– 11/20/18

I) Italy Invades: How Italians Conquered the World.  Why did the Romans call the Mediterranean Mare Nostrum – Our Sea?  How did Italian soldiers fight in Spain the 20th century?  Explore the Italian impact on our world.

II) An Adventure in 1914: In the summer of 1914 my great grandfather (Thomas Wells) journeyed from America to Europe (by ship of course!) with his family.    What ought to have been a dream vacation turned into a nightmare as he witnessed the start of World War I.  We in the Azamara Pursuit are traveling along some of the route taken by him 104 years ago (e.g. stopping in Gibraltar)!  Based on my most personal book…An Adventure in 1914.

III) The Peninsular War:  In 1808 Napoleon invaded his own Ally – the kingdom of Spain.  Over the next six years a war would erupt for control of Iberia.  The “Spanish Ulcer” weakened Napoleon and saw the rise of the Duke of Wellington.

IV) America Invades: In World War II the USA established bases in the Azores to combat the Nazi U-boat menace – they are still there today.  Today we will examine America’s surprising military role in throughout her history.

V) Christopher Columbus: Hero or Villain?  In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue.  Today some think that he brought genocide to the New World while others regard him as a hero.  What is the truth about Columbus?  What do cigars, hammocks and chocolate owe to Columbus?

VI) Real Pirates of the Caribbean!  The waters of the Caribbean have been visited by pirates such as Henry Morgan and Anne Bonny.  In the 20th century underwater pirates preyed on merchant shipping in two World War.

VII) Invading Florida: Has Florida ever been Invaded?  Many times.  By the Spanish who built St. Augustine – the oldest European citadel on the North American continent.  By the English.  By the Americans led by Andrew Jackson (Jacksonville).   German U-boats terrorized the Florida coast and even landed spies on Florida beaches in WW2.

You are hereby invited to join me as a cross the Atlantic in the footsteps of my ancestor to commemorate the end of the Great War.  For much more information click on this link...

You can find signed copies of our books at 
these web sites...

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