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an American literary award exists which is often compared to the Nobel Prize in Literature?

Marcos Hernandez Between the Covers Podcast, Dubravka Ugrešić

The Neustadt International Prize for Literature, sometimes referred to as the American Nobel, is awarded every other year by the University of Oklahoma’s World Literature Today. Like the Nobel, the award is based on an authors entire body of work. The award was founded in 1969 and it’s recipients include Gabo, Octavio Paz (both of which are Spanish-speaking Nobel Laureates), and Dubravka Ugrešić (it was through an interview of her that I found out this prize even existed).

Poets, novelists, and playwrights and all eligible for the prize BUT the prize isn’t open for application.

a nine-tailed fox appears in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean folklore?

Marcos Hernandez Between the Covers Podcast, Dubravka Ugrešić

Tales of the mythical fox spirit originated in China and spread to Japan and Korea. They are known for their ability to shapeshift, most often taking the form of beautiful young women. Their main mischief is to seduce men and in some stories would consume their bodies or spirits.

Modern adaptations include the Pokemon Ninetails and a character in the video game League of Legends who has the ability to consume souls and steal memories.

the United States gave over $12 billion of aid to aid Western Europe after WWII?

Marcos Hernandez Hoover: An Extraordinary Life in Extraordinary Times by Kenneth Whyte

The Marshall Plan was officially called the European Recovery Program but was named after US Secretary of State George Marshall. The logic was that by helping to restore the economic strength of countries ravaged by the war the spread of Communism would be halted. The fear of Communism spread to both sides of the aisle and the plan received bipartisan support in Washington.

The Soviet Union, unwilling to allow the United States any control over their economy, rejected the aid and attempted to create their own economic recovery plan even though they were required to pay large amounts of money in reparations.

The Marshall Plan focused on reducing artificial trade barriers and modernizing industry. The effects of reduced discontent and increased political stability all but eliminated the communist parties in Western Europe. There is some debate as to whether or not the Marshall Plan played such a large part in the recovery of the Western European economy but if success is measured by the effects on the spread of Communism the plan was an overwhelming success.

the Duke of Windsor served as the Governor of the Bahamas?

Marcos Hernandez Hoover: An Extraordinary Life in Extraordinary Times by Kenneth Whyte

Edward VIII abdicated his throne in 1936 after less than a year as king in order to marry Wallis Simpson. The new king, George VI and Edward’s younger brother, created the title “Duke of Windsor” for the former king. Edward was the first and only Duke of Windsor; after his death the dukedom ramained vacant.

During World War II there were rumors that Edward was a Nazi sympathizer. Hitler was quoted as saying that he believed if Edward had stayed on the throne everything would be different, reffering to the relationship between Germany and Britain. In order to keep Edward far from the conflict he was appointed Governor of the Bahamas, a position which he held from August 1940-March 1945.

the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 thrust Herbert Hoover into the national spotlight?

Marcos Hernandez Hoover: An Extraordinary Life in Extraordinary Times by Kenneth Whyte

The most destructive river flood in United States History began in the summer of 1926 when heavy rains swelled the Mississippi River’s tributaries. Peak flooding occurred in Mound Landing, Mississippi and Arkansas City, Arkansas. Levees that had been put in place to control flooding hadn’t been designed with this volume of water in mind and broke, leaving more than 700,000 people homeless.

The US government, with Calvin Coolidge as President, was hesitant to offer relief. Coolidge believed in a limited national government and thought the states were in the best position to offer its citizens aid. His fear was that Washington would be called upon to help with regional crises, setting a precedent for future disasters and potentially straining the nations finances.

When the situation was deemed to be severe enough to warrant federal aid he called a meeting of his cabinet and placed Hoover in charge of the relief efforts based on his past experience dealing with humanitarian crisises during the Great War. Hoover coordinated the national response, giving speeches, raising money, and establishing tent cities. His successful management of the crisis propelled him to the top of the Republican Party and he received the party’s presidential nomination when Coolidge declined to run for another term.

First Lady Lou Hoover began the sale of Girl Scout Cookies as it’s known today?

Marcos Hernandez Hoover: An Extraordinary Life in Extraordinary Times by Kenneth Whyte

Lou Hoover was the wife of the 31stPresident of the United States Herbert Hoover. They met at Stanford when both were studying geology. As soon as they were married she accompanied her husband on his trips around the world as he became a world leader in the mining industry. When her husband was appointed Secretary of Commerce by President Harding and moved to Washington DC Lou was right there with him.

From an early age Lou was often found outdoors camping, fishing, and horseback riding. These qualities led the founder of the Girl Scouts of America to recruit Hoover to the organization’s leadership when the two met in the nation’s capital. Lou served two terms as President of the Girl Scouts, from 1925-1928 and again from 1935-1937. It was in her second stint as President that commercial bakers were used to make a product labeled “Girl Scout Cookies,” a move which launched the sale of cookies as a fundraiser nation-wide. Beginning with Lou Hoover, the incumbent First Lady is the honorary President of the Girl Scouts of America.

the 18th Amendment established prohibition in the United States but didn’t define exactly what was banned or associated penalties?

Marcos Hernandez Hoover: An Extraordinary Life in Extraordinary Times by Kenneth Whyte

The 18th Amendment to the US Constitution prohibited the production, sale, and transport of “intoxicating liquors” but never specified what those intoxicating liquors were, leaving this up to future legislation. The National Prohibition Act (also known as the Volstead Act because it was managed by Andrew Volstead) was the piece of legislation which determined the impact of the new amendment. It defined any beverage containing over .5% alcohol by volume as “intoxicating.”

There were exceptions to the Volstead Act. For example, physicians were able to prescribe whiskey for a patient but there were limits as to how much was allowed, similar to how opioids are treated today.

Organized crime followed the enactment of prohibition as people were still willing to pay money for alcohol. As people got used to paying for their illegal alcohol and therefore becoming more comfortable with living on the wrong side of the law, the public opposition to prohibition gained ground. The 18thAmendment was repealed by the 21stAmendment in 1933, voiding the Volstead Act and transferring control of alcohol to states.

the first presidential cabinet member to go to prison was convicted of accepting bribes?

Marcos Hernandez Hoover: An Extraordinary Life in Extraordinary Times by Kenneth Whyte

The Teapot Dome scandal occurred during Warren G. Harding’s presidency and left a lasting stain on his legacy. His Secretary of the Interior Albert Fall leased petroleum reserves in Teapot Dome, Wyoming to private oil companies at bargain rates in exchange for over $400,000.

The investigation dragged on for two years, with no major evidence found. What proved to be Fall’s undoing was evidence of a no-interest loan of $100,000 from one of the oil tycoons who benefitted from the transaction.

This scandal wasn’t uncovered until after Harding’s death but the fact the president surrounded himself with a man like Fall was enough to cast a shadow on his time in office

Herbert Hoover gained his first international recognition for providing Belgians food?

Marcos Hernandez Hoover: An Extraordinary Life in Extraordinary Times by Kenneth Whyte

At the outbreak of the Great War (WWI), Germany demanded Belgium allow them passage so they could invade France. Belgium, a neutral country, had the support of Great Britain. When Germany invaded and the Battle of Liege began, Belgian citizens found themselves in the midst of war. The German Army took their food and Great Britain imposed a blockade on the country, not allowing any aid to reach the neutral citizens.

Herbert Hoover had already been busy helping stranded Americans flee the war in Europe. Based on his success transporting 120,000 Americans back home, the American ambassador to Great Britain contacted Hoover to help transport food to the starving Belgians. Hoover created the Commission for Relief in Belgium (CRB).

In order to succeed he had to navigate British sentiments that the food would help the Germans and prolong the war. Hoover was able to work out a deal in which neutral CRB agents aboard neutral ships laden with relief could bypass the blockade. Based on his position at the head of the CRB, Hoover was one of a few men who were able to pass into territories occupied by both sides of the conflict.

Between 1914 and 1919 he was able to feed 11 million Belgians.

a Byzantine General’s military genius is considered on par with Napolean and Hannibal?

Marcos Hernandez The Silk Roads by Peter Frankopan

The Byzantine General Belisarius was Emperor Justinian’s best military mind. He lived from 500-565 A.D. Early in his career, as a Roman soldier, he served close to Emperor Justin I (Justinian’s uncle) where he impressed both the current and future Emperors. His pride and joy was his unit of heavy cavalry, men armed with a lance, a sword, and a bow.

Justinian, a Byzantine Emperor, is known in modern times for his attempted restoration and unification of the Roman Empire. Belisarius contributed to Justinian’s vision with successful military campaigns which recaptured lost segments of the former empire in the west (the seat of power was Constantinople). Some of his accomplishments include suppressing a rebellion in Constantinople (modern day Istanbul, in Turkey), the defeat of the Vandals in North Africa, the defeat of the Goths in Italy (twice), and the defense of Syria against an army of Persians.

In Belisarius’s last military campaign he defeated an army of Bulgars who threatened Justinian in the capital of Constantinople. The opposing force was 2,000 strong and Belisarius defeated them with only 300 men.

Belisarius and Justinian died within months of each other in the year 565.