To The 20th Century
By Joe Wood
edition of Cyber*Kool originally was featured in the Winter 2001 issue
of ATOMIC Magazine.
Now that the 20th century is officially closed, we can take
a tour of modern history on the big bus called the Internet.
The Net was possibly the greatest invention of the last century,
and yet finding quality history sites proves a little more difficult
than one might imagine. Perhaps a modern history Website is
not what the average venture capitalist has in mind. As a result,
it seems the only people concerned with bringing history to
the World Wide Web are university students working for a grade,
of television broadcasters looking to make a buck. Still, there
are still some good cyberspots for expanding your knowledge
of the last century and brushing up on 20th Century triviahere's
where you should look.
People's Century 1900-1999
PBS created this site as the companion guide to their 26-part
television series first broadcast in 1998. Both the series and
site at times focus heavily on the political and nationalist
dramas that plagued the world throughout most of the century.
Looking back in time through this site, one appreciates how
brutal the 1900s really were.
site's timeline begins with the great hope and optimism that
marked the century's beginning. Then we are presented with several
great accomplishments and failures, lots of war and racial injustice.
We see in pictures and text the rise and fall of Fascism and
Communism, the excesses of the '80s and the technology boom
of the '90s.
People's Century isn't all about the dark side of the last 100
years. PBS also takes the viewer through the triumph of sports,
the allure of Hollywood and the century's best movies. Embedded
throughout are RealAudio snippets from the series and useful
20th Century History
After scrutinizing several sites, I preferred about.com's presentation
of the century over the other offerings on the Net. For one
thing, they weren't trying to sell me an accompanying book or
videotape. In addition, the history presented on the main page
relates to the date on which you are visiting the site. Feature
stories change weekly and are accompanied by a timeline of the
century and a weekly five-question quiz.
in all, about.com's Editor Jennifer Rosenberg (no relation to
ATOMIC's Editor-in-Chief) has compiled a well designed and useful
site that can satisfy any of your historical needs pertaining
to the last century. From pop culture to works of art, the site
covers movers and shakers worldwide and includes a photo gallery.
If you're a budding history buff or have that nagging paper
to write, point your browser to this site first.
When the History Channel premiered on television a few years
ago, many referred to this A&E offshoot as "The War
channel." No one has been able to focus on and dissect
the World War I ear better. Not the channel's American history
expertise is available online. Granted, every page is trying
to market another video package, but the information is well
written and covers each subject in detail. The site;s search
engine lets you seek historical data that happened on any day
of the year, covering not just the past century but also The
Civil War, The Cold War, Crime history, Literary history and
even Automotive History. This site is a vast undertaking and
it should be elevated to "text book" status. Everything
you want to know is here.
Part of the A&E Network, The Biography Channel focuses on
the lives of the people who shaped our history, from politicians
to Hollywood stars. As a supplement to its television counterpart,
you can dig u the biography of almost and famous person living
or dead on the channel's Website. But the emphasis is on "almost."
I did a search on both Mel Blanc and Louis Prima and came up
with nothingyet, 15-year-old Frankie Muniz of Fox's Malcolm
in the Middle is profiled, as is Alfred Hitchcock. You take
what you can get.
Seems Like Yesterday
Brought to you by Canada's History Television Channel, this
site provides a companion overview of the baby boomer era and
atomic age programs that ran in Canada. Although it's not the
best design for navigation, once you make your way to the content
page, a world of history opens up that included feature articles,
crosswords, e-cards, discussion boards and factoids. Pleasant
retro imagery spread across the site adds a nice visual element.
The Passing Of A Century
Geared toward students, this site offers brief write-ups
on major historical events of the 20th Century that would appeal
to anyone wanting to brush up on recent history. Themes include
the changing face of war, the evolution of mass media, societies
in transit, great people of the century, and transportation.
There's also a chronicle of landmark events and interesting
trivia, as well as a section about life at the turn of the last
century, which lets you see just how much happens in 100 years.
With interactive games, quizzes, photo galleries and more, this
site is both entertaining and educational.
Okay, it's not technically a history site, but it's pretty
nifty. Inspired by the cartoon characters from the 1930s, Bulbo
looks a bit like a buck-toothed, one-eared Mickey Mouse on uppers.
The Flash-animated Website presents six film shorts, one of
which is Bulbo's walk through the 20th Century. This one-minute,
comical tour covers the most memorable moments of the last hundred
years, and serves as a humorous dose of history for the academically
Harris Montgomery County Community College
This Houston, Texas, college has compiled what I consider
one of the best history Website by an educational institution.
This site provides all sorts of details from each decade, from
the period's population and relative price index to the music
and lifestyles. It may not be the most beautiful site on the
Internet, but it easily makes up for it in content.