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Making history... interesting!

A new book by Ian Crofton ensures that the subject would never put anyone to sleep ever again.

books Updated: May 21, 2012 15:04 IST

Author Ian Crofton has found the perfect way to get students to stay awake while cramming for their history exams, with a new book History Without The Boring Bits.

The tome published by Quercus Books carries a few eye-openers from the times gone by. A report in the Daily Mirror has enlisted several interesting historical facts enumerated in the book. These include the fact that in 456 BC, ancient Greek dramatist Aeschylus died when an eagle dropped a tortoise on his bald head.

Some of the surprising historical facts mentioned in book are detailed hereunder:

456 BC - Greek dramatist Aeschylus dies when an eagle drops a tortoise on his bald head.

346 BC - Philip II of Macedonia sends a message to the Spartans after conquering much of Greece: "You are advised to submit without further delay, for if I bring my army into your land, I will destroy your farms, slay your people and raze your city."

But he left them alone when the Spartans sent a one-world reply: “If.”

1264 - Henry III pardoned one Inetta de Balsham, condemned to death for harbouring thieves. She had been hanged but survived after three days swinging on the end of the rope.

1703 - Daniel Defoe is held for three days in the pillory as punishment for his satirical Shortest Way With Dissenters. But he is so popular the crowd throw flowers at him rather than rotten eggs.

1718 - The Irish Parliament passed the Coffee Adulteration Act, by which it was forbidden in the future to try to pass off sheep dung as coffee beans.

1797 - Dominique Jean Larrey became Napoleon's surgeon-in-chief. He was able to amputate a man's leg in 13 seconds.

1837 - Alfred Bird invented custard powder for his wife who was allergic to eggs.

1875 - The King Of Fiji brought back measles from a state visit to Australia, and wiped out a quarter of his own people.

1879 - When the British redcoats turned to their ammunition upon being attacked by the Zulus at the Battle of Isandlwana, they found that they were filled with biscuits not bullets. Out of a force of 1,400 men, fewer than 100 survived.

1896 - The shortest conflict in history was between Britain and Zanzibar that started at 9.02 am and ended at 9.40 am. Sultan Hamad bin Thuwaini objected to the Royal Navy sailing into his harbour and opened fire. The Navy replied in kind, destroying his palace.

1912 - The owners of Titanic, the White Star Line, stopped the wages of the crew as soon as they received the news of the ship’s sinking.

1969 - The cake on the cover of Rolling Stones album Let It Bleed was created by a then unknown Delia Smith.

First Published: Sep 27, 2007 16:30 IST