Silent Calvin Coolidge

US president Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933) was a man who was easily underestimated. Despite being a very good public speaker, he was a very quiet man in his private life. In fact, he was so private that he had the nickname “Silent Cal”. At a dinner reception, he was once told by another guest that she made a bet with a …

The man who built Switzerland

Nowadays the tiny country of Switzerland is one of the wealthiest and most famous nations on Earth. This was not always the case. For many hundreds of years, it struggled economically and was not well known.  Switzerland is now well known for its banking system, its leading educational institutions, its excellent insurance companies and its extensive and highly precise train system. …

The Prussian prince who ran away

Frederick the Great (1712-1786) was the King of Prussia and one of the greatest military leaders of all time. However, his story almost turned out quite different. As a teen, he tried to run away from Prussia to Great Britain. Together with his friend (who was also with high probabilty his lover) Hans Hermann von Katte, they prepared their journey …

The myth of Napoleon’s height

In literature and movies, Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821) is often portrayed as a man of short stature. The term “Napoleon complex” refers to short man with a big ego. Nevertheless, it is now widely accepted that the famous leader was actually a bit above average height for his day and age. Reportedly, he stood around 5ft 7 in (around 170cm). But where did …