Posted on

Another Grand Master Gets Burned

Jacques de Molay. Illustration by anonymous (c. 19th century). Bibliotheque Nationale de France. PD-70+ Wikimedia Commons.
Jacques de Molay. Illustration by anonymous (c. 19th century). Bibliotheque Nationale de France. PD-70+ Wikimedia Commons.

I gave my father a copy of our recently published book Where Did They Burn the Last Grand Master of the Knights Templar? A Walking Tour of Medieval Paris–Volume One. He actually read the book. I only know this because he asked me the other day who the Knights Templar were and what did they do.

I stared at him in disbelief. My first thought was how could you not know who the Knights Templar were. I mean, haven’t you seen the Indiana Jones movies? I immediately flashed back to the book and its contents and asked myself if I had ever explained in the books who they were and why they existed. I looked over at Sandy and she had read my mind. She shook her head and said nope.

This is a great example of taking your audience for granted.

The Origins of the Knights Templar 

Coat of arms of Jacques de Molay, last Grand Master of the Knights Templar. Illustration by Odejea (2008). Musée de Versaille. PD-Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0. Wikimedia Commons.
Coat of arms of Jacques de Molay, last Grand Master of the Knights Templar. Illustration by Odejea (2008). Musée de Versaille. PD-Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0. Wikimedia Commons.

On 16 July 1099, the First Crusade ended after Jerusalem fell to the Christian crusaders. Only approximately 300 knights and 300 foot soldiers remained behind after the majority of the crusaders returned to Europe. Christians were now able to make the pilgrimage to the Holy Lands and Jerusalem. However, it was a very dangerous journey.

During this time, organizations of knights were being formed around Europe. The premise was that a knight should use their weapons in the service of God. Hugh of Champagne founded one of these, the Order of the Temple, in 1125. The pope gave his blessing to what became the first approved religious military unit.

The original intent of the knights was to protect pilgrims on their journey to the Holy Lands. As time went on, their role turned to a more military active one whereby they became participants in future crusades. Read More Another Grand Master Gets Burned

Posted on

Curious George Flees the Nazis

 

Rey, H.A. Curious George. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1941. Cover illustration by H.A. Rey (1941). Available at Amazon and all fine bookstores.
Rey, H.A. Curious George. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1941. Cover illustration by H.A. Rey (1941). Available at Amazon and all fine bookstores.

I’m often asked where I find the topics for my blogs. It boils down to reading a lot of books and delving into the research for whatever book I’m working on at the time. Anyone who has done research for the purpose of producing a written piece knows what it’s like going down the “rabbit hole.” In other words, you get side tracked and a week later you pop up your head and say “I better get back to my original target.”

I read books, periodicals, historical articles, and anything I can get my hands on that pertains to the subject I’m working on. So in early January 2017 I noticed an article in The Wall Street Journal entitled “As ‘Curious George’ Turns 75, New Light On His Escape from the Nazis.” Coincidentally, several days earlier in a separate source, I found the address where George’s creators lived in pre-war, pre-occupied Paris.

H.A. & Margret Rey

curious
Hans and Margret Rey. Photo by Penny Stearns Palmer (date unknown). Wikimedia Commons.

I’m always fascinated by relationships that endure for decades. One of the reasons for these successful relationships seems to be where each partner brings a different “skill set” to the relationship—typically one’s strengths offsets the partner’s weaknesses. You might say they are the ideal partnerships. In most cases, the partners share a common interest. In the case of H.A. and Margret, they both loved monkeys. Margret would write the stories and H.A. would illustrate them. Read More Curious George Flees the Nazis