Another message from Jeremy Taylor

The author /

The author /

You can read a book (at the risk of your eyesight) off your computer screen, or you can have it read to you by some famous actor; you can beg, borrow or steal a book from a friend – in my case the last verb is the most appropriate – or you may, just possibly prefer to buy the book to keep among all the others in your bookshelf. This kind of printed book is what you take to bed with you, where you read it chapter after chapter with your head nicely rested on your pillows and that reading light you found at Ikea providing the light. Or you can seat yourself in a favourite armchair after choosing a real book from a vast library or a modest collection.

General History is available to just about everywhere on this planet by going to Amazon Books, clicking on Books, and then typing ‘Jeremy Taylor-General-History’ or ‘Dean Swift-General-History’. Click on this and all three volumes (there will soon be a fourth) will appear on your screen. Then choose how you will buy it (at remarkably low cost), and very soon you will have 99% of the articles or posts published on-line, in printed book mode, to keep for ever.

Very best wishes, yours ever, Jeremy Taylor.

By | 2016-06-07T21:34:20+00:00 September 16th, 2015|Today, World History|3 Comments

Alsace/Lorraine & Schleswig/Holstein

These two tongue-twisters used not only to twist tongues, but eject furious spittle from the pursed mouth of European statesmen and politicians. The problem is not only of dual nationality and two different languages, but also historic bickering between countries traditionally seeing each other as treacherous enemies.

Alsace is a part of North/East France, comprising Bas-Rhin and Haut-Rhin. They lie on the frontier with Germany. Thus enters the traditional loathing of the French for the Germans, and vice-versa. Alsace was a simply a part of France (Lorraine) before finding itself fairly suddenly a part of the German Empire: the fault lies with treaties, as usual: The Peace of Westphalia (1648) and Treaty of Rijwijk (another tongue-torturer, 1697) handed over most of Alsace to France – but in 1871 it was re-annexed by Germany! As if this were not complicated enough, Alsace was subsequently returned to France in 1919 (Treaty of Versailles of immortal memory), and then, though this may difficult to believe, regained by Germany during the Second World War! (more…)

The dry martini cocktail

The green olive properly speared / noilly

The green olive properly speared / noilly

The history of this cocktail is not without incident. It is a potentially lethal mixture of a raw spirit – gin – with a distillation of the vine, and you were always taught never to combine the two in one glass. The invention was American, perhaps taking place during the years of prohibition and after, again perhaps in New York City, where the Three Martini Lunch soon became fashionable, though it never really disturbed the good American tradition of hard work and commercial success. Manhattan spies tell me it first appeared in either the Algonquin hotel, or the St. Regis, both ultra fashionable with what used to be termed ‘The Upper Class’ US citizen, usually male.

There are many receipts for the making of this explosive sip. Ben Schott says it is Dry Vermouth one third, two-thirds Dry Gin, shaken, garnished and served on or off the rocks. Professional barmen will disagree with the words in italics. ‘Ginger’ Taylor, for half his life chief barman at the Connaught Hotel in Carlos Place, W.I. Had a different method: Half fill your cocktail shaker with fresh ice cubes; pour gently over the ice either Gordon’s or Beefeater’s best gin while you count four seconds out loud: then pour Dry Vermouth just as gently, also counting four seconds. Close the coctelera and shake vigorously as if you are playing the marracas; pour into a special martini-glass (see illustration) and add an unstoned green olive speared with a wood toothpick (or you may own your own pure silver implement). The ice cubes must be prevented from entering the glass by a special filter in the top of the shaker. Sip slowly and do not smoke while sipping, as the tobacco spoils the unique taste.

Shaker with detachable, filtered top /

Shaker with detachable, filtered top /

On the market there are many shapes and sizes of Martini glasses. Edith Sitwell had her own glass at her ladies only club in London. According to Gore Vidal, the glass was a small goldfish bowl, which meant that poetess and eccentric Edith would have to be helped a little later into her dining chair to enjoy her ‘Red Luncheon’ – lobster, strawberries and a bottle of red Burgundy.

Some restaurants cheat by employing those horrid bowl-like glasses into which champagne should never be poured. This wine must be served in tall, thin tulip glasses, or those wonderful bubbles escape and the taste is lost. As I was saying, some eating houses cannot be bothered with proper martini glasses. If so, you should withdraw your custom.

Should you feel a bit like James Bond, you will prefer the Vodka Martini, also shaken not stirred, and made with Smirnov vodka. In fact Smirnov is not Russian at all, it is made in America, to a recipe by a Russian. The cocktail is made in exactly the same way, though some like a Maraschino cherry in the glass instead of a green olive. On the subject of olives, do not use one stuffed with anchovy, for obvious reasons or taste and good manners.

One last word: actually they were the last words spoken by Humphrey Bogart the film actor, who was born into an upper-upper-class American family, and spent his working life playing growling bum gangsters. It is said on good authority that when ‘Bogey’ was dying, he whispered, “I knew I should not have changed from whisky to dry martinis”.


This trouble spot is naturally one of the most beautiful places on earth /

This trouble spot is naturally one of the most beautiful places on earth /

1947/48 saw the biggest break-up in the disgraceful dismemberment of the British Empire, whose most important ‘colony’ was India. Lord Mountbatten (q.v.) was sent to supervise the partition of India. At this time Kashmir was mostly populated with Muslims, though ruled by Hindus – lunacy on a grand scale. In October there was a Muslim-orchestrated uprising in the west, naturally supported across the border by Pakistan. Kashmir howled for help from India, and got some; but Indian troops would only act in exchange for Kashmir becoming part of the Indian Union. (more…)

National Guards (France and USA)

Artist's impression of members of the French National Guard /

Artist’s impression of members of the French National Guard /

The National Guard in France was founded in July, 1789 to replace the royal soldiers who had been forbidden entry to Paris. Other cities and towns followed suit rapidly, and soon most municipalities had their own troops, under the mandate of the local authority. At first, members tended to be of the richer class, freer and able to be more active than the agricultural or urban working classes, but revolutionary leaders soon realised that the Guard was playing a leading part on the side of the royalists (not the idea at all), so it was suppressed in 1795, only to be reorganised again in 1815, when it became an integral part of the bourgeois monarchy of Louis Philippe (q.v.).

However, the Guard refused to defend the regime in 1848, a signal for the February Revolution to break out. It was broken up again during the Second Empire, but revived and transformed in 1870 in a useless attempt to defeat the Prussians, who were invading France at the time. Then in March, 1871 the Guard rebelled in support of the Paris Commune; many of its members were killed, but it was finally and permanently suppressed after the defeat of the Commune.

The US National Guard on duty in Texas, USA /

The US National Guard on duty in Texas, USA /

In the United States of America the National Guard holds great importance. It signifies the well-armed military reserve of each one of the States, and members are subject to federal or state call-up in an emergency. The Guard was created by Congress in 1915 to serve as an auxiliary to the regular army; its members were volunteers, and there has never been a lack of them, as it is a uniformed and salaried state militia. During any war the Guard is subject to federal (or the President’s) control and can be sent to any war zone, but for wholly political reasons it is rarely sent abroad. In the decades before conscription was suspended, many young people volunteered to enter the Guard’s ranks in order not to be conscripted for the Vietnam War. (more…)

Don’t forget to read books!

Don’t neglect your reading!

Expert or inexpert, millions of people read blogsites, blogspots, online books, political pamphlets etc. The offer is endless using the Internet. But one should NOT forget the good old book . . . books have been around in printed, readable form for centuries. A well-made bookshelf full of printed knowledge may take up much more room in your bed-sitter or your palace, but it is worth it.

Talking of books, General-History comes in book form too, in softback and on sale at reasonable prices on almost any of your Amazon outlets; (USA),, even which invariably deals with books in Spanish. General-History by Dean Swift has not yet been translated from the original English. The book is divided into 3 volumes – Vol. I with a red cover stripe, Vol.II with a green one, and Vol. III with a blue stripe. There are well over a thousand pages in all three volumes, all selected and edited from the website

Please go to Amazon, click on ‘Books’, then key the following – General History Dean Swift. Up should comethumbsof all three volumes, with details of price and packaging, delivery etc. Do not be confused by the author-name: ‘Dean Swift‘ is a pen name of historian Jeremy Taylor.

This website receives an average of 100.000 visits per annum according to Statistics. Why not consider having all three volumes among your own books?

By | 2018-04-24T15:10:28+00:00 February 26th, 2015|History, Today, World History|0 Comments

Plagues, Epidemics & Pandemics

Asian 'flu patients /

Asian ‘flu patients /

In the book of Isaiah you will find records of outbreaks of pestilence, when God is supposed to have punished the Chosen People for offences against Him. He destroyed, for example, the people of Sennacherib; but 2000 years before the Old Testament was composed, outbreaks of plague and other lethal visitations are recorded in Egyptian and early Chinese texts.

‘Plagues, pestilence, epi- and pan-demics’ have reduced the human population of this planet for thousands of years. A recent example was the Aids Pandemic, which killed enormous swathes of people of both sexes, and their children, before it was brought, somewhat jerkily, under control. In much earlier times, epidemics of smallpox, tuberculosis, measles, sweating sickness and even the common cold or ‘flu decimated populations before correct palliatives were found. Even now malaria kills, despite the discovery of penicillin especially in the continent of Africa and parts of the Far East, and many bacteria are now antibiotic-resistant. (more…)

By | 2015-03-01T17:59:38+00:00 February 25th, 2015|Today, World History|0 Comments

Errata in the printed version of General History

After the successful publication of three edited volumes of General History, we have discovered to our astonishment that errors abound! Prepositions and full stops have vanished. There are unwanted spaces between words. In Volume Three the German word Ruhr has become a much-repeated Rhur. The editing and correcting was carried out with the utmost care, but errata occur and I must take the blame, for the printer can only print what he receives. Should a second edition be printed, it is to be hoped that these irritating mistakes will have been found and erradicated. We have also noted that both Volume II and Volume III carry the same article on Shakespearean vocabulary in the chapter on the English Language.

This is a message to faithful followers of, from Jeremy Taylor, who writes the articles under the pen name of Dean Swift.

By | 2015-01-15T18:28:53+00:00 January 15th, 2015|Today|0 Comments

Fascism – a dreaded word

Fasci or Fasces /

Fasci or Fasces /

Fasci, literally meaning ‘bundles’, and perhaps descending from the fasci of thin staves of wood carried by Roman officials as symbol of authority, were established in Sicilian towns and villages in the late nineteenth century. They were mutually – supporting societies of peasants and workers; the basic trade union in fact. Their leaders varied in type and political opinion, but were usually anarchists, though many were teachers, local landowners and gentry, members of ancient and respected families. Not a few among them were local mafiosi. (more…)

By | 2015-01-10T19:01:21+00:00 January 10th, 2015|Italian History, Philosophy, Today, World History|1 Comment

Latest news on the books



Oyez! Oyez! Latest news on the books!

All three volumes of Jeremy Taylor’s brief chapters on world history, written under the name of Dean Swift for the website and now in cheap paperback form, are available on and also Amazon. com in America. The price plus p. & p. is extremely reasonable. The reading matter is colossal. The three volumes offer nearly one thousand pages of easily read history covering up to twenty-one different nations on this planet. Wars, treaties, personalities, politics, religions and philosophy plus many other categories abound. Order your copy/copies now, in this first month of the year 2015. Enjoy the wry humour and keen observation. Just go to Amazon and under books key in the words ‘General History Dean Swift’ and then choose – all three books, two or just one. ‘He (or she) who hesitates is lost!’

By | 2015-01-07T08:55:36+00:00 January 7th, 2015|English Language, Today, World History|0 Comments
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