The Sidney Sun-Telegraph - Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

Articles written by William H. Benson

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'On Writing' and 'Why I Write'

In the year 2000, the horror fiction writer Stephen King came out with a different kind of book, a nonfiction book that he entitled, “On Writing: a Memoir of the Craft.” He begins with a series...

 

Recap of Queen Elizabeth II

Queen Elizabeth passed away last week, Thursday, September 8, 2022, at 96. She was born on April 21, 1926, and had one sibling, a younger sister named Margaret, born August 21, 1930. When ten,...

 

Vaclaf Smif

Vaclav Smil was born in 1943, during World War II, in Czechoslovakia, in the German Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. As a teenager, Smil's parents expected him to chop wood, every four hours, to...

 

Bill Russell and Retirement

Three weeks ago, on July 31, 2022, the former Boston Celtics’ imposing center, Bill Russell, passed away, at age eighty-eight. Over thirteen seasons at Boston, from 1957 to 1969, he collected a...

 

Battle at Rzhev

In the early days of World War II, 1939 to 1940, the Nazi German war machine advanced across eastern Europe, until its soldiers stood on the outskirts of Moscow, deep into the Soviet Union, poised...

 

Pestilence

On June 26, 1284, officials in a German town called Hamelin hired a musician to rid the town of its rats. The “rat-catcher’s magical flute” hypnotized the rats that followed the piper out of...

 

'1776'

The logo for the Broadway musical “1776” features an eaglet inside a broken egg shell, biting down on a flagpole. The small flag atop the pole shows its colors: red and white stripes, and a blue...

 

George Armstrong Custer

The Native American tribes had pet names for George Armstrong Custer. The Crow called him Child of the Morning Star, the Cheyenne labeled him Yellow Hair, but the Lakota Sioux referred to him as Long...

 

Stewart Brand: 'The Whole Earth Catalog'

Steve Jobs gave the commencement address at Stanford University on June 14, 2005. In it, he told three stories. The first was how he dropped out of Reed College, in Portland, Oregon. The second was ho...

 

Mythology

Tony Hillerman grew up in Oklahoma, and attended St. Mary’s Academy, a boarding school intended for Native American girls. One of the few boys permitted to attend, he developed a sensitivity for the...

 

Traditions

In recent days, I have re-read David L. Lindsay’s novel, Body of Truth. In it, he describes a cruel and gruesome civil war that terrorized the people of Guatemala for 36 years, from 1960 until...

 

Maritime Losses

Maritime disasters can happen during either war or peace, but either way the loss in terms of human lives hits hard. A bomb, an explosion, a torpedo, a missile, an iceberg, no matter the cause, each...

 

Truth vs Lies

It might be fabricated, but a story I heard years ago was that Bill Cosby warned a young Oprah Winfrey, to “always balance your own check book.” In other words, he cautioned her to trust only...

 

A Tale of Two Cities

A quote I read years ago said, “The family surname of the betrothed says much about the success of the marriage.” That idea may come near to a singular truth in a general way, despite plenty of...

 

Irish Wit

The Irish have their own way of seeing the world. The American poet Marianne Moore said as much in six words. “I'm troubled. I'm dissatisfied. I'm Irish.” Frank McCourt said the same, but in more...

 

Freeze-Up in Ottawa

Kathrene and Robert Pinkerton married in 1911. He worked at a newspaper in a big city: long hours, deadlines, and stress. A doctor advised him him to “get out of newspaper offices and out of...

 

Immigration

Immigration is not for the faint of heart. With high school diploma in hand, a young African from Ghana named Robert Kosi Tette came to the United States in 1998, leaving behind family, friends, and ...

 

Abraham Lincoln's Farewell to Springfield

A favorite Lincoln biographer of mine is Carl Sandburg. In 1926, he published a two-volume work, Abraham Lincoln, The Prairie Years, and then in 1939, he published a four-volume work, Abraham...

 

Alex Haley and 'Roots'

Roots, the television miniseries, aired over eight nights, from Sunday, January 23, through Sunday, January 30, in 1977, forty-five years ago. It proved wildly successful, despite ABC executives...

 

Insurrection on the Capitol: Jan. 6, 2021

Donald Trump lost the 2020 election on November 3, 2020. Although some 74.2 million voters voted for him, 81.2 voted for Biden, a difference of over 7.0 million. Then, Biden won 306 electoral votes to...

 

Stars

The ancient Greeks pointed to as many as 88 constellations spread across a night sky, and then they pinned names to them that they took from their religion of stories and myths. They wanted to see...

 

Fruits

In 1905, the USDA published a bulletin: Nomenclature of the Apple: A Catalog, that listed 17,000 names. After removing the duplicate names, it still listed 14,000 different varieties of the apple....

 

Amendments

Senators and Representatives first met in Congress, under the U.S. Constitution, on March 4, 1789, in the Federal Building in New York City. Six months later, on September 25, James Madison, a...

 

Milton Hershey School, Part 2

Last time in these pages I began a review of a recent book, Invisible Child: Poverty, Survival and Hope in an American City.  Its author, Andrea Elliott, focused on a middle school girl named...

 

California's Farm Workers

Michael Greenberg, reporter for the New York Review, examined California in two recent articles, the first in December on agriculture, and the second in January on housing’s high cost. In the first, he paints a stunning picture of agriculture in Ca...

 

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