A Glimpse Back in Time (#7): Passenger & Wayfarer by Alexandra Bracken

Thursday, January 19, 2017

A Glimpse Back in Time is a feature where I talk about the interesting history behind the books that I read! If you want to see previous posts for this feature, look here!

Oofda! It has been a little while since I was able to do one of these posts! I have been thinking of all the wonderful historical fiction books I could post about and it was hard to decide which one to talk about today!

I'm going to be featuring:

Passenger by Alexandra Bracken
Passenger #1
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Publication Date: January 5th, 2016

This series is about a group of people, known as travelers, who have the ability to travel through time. The main character, Etta, is snatched by a traveler and sent on a mission to find something that her mother hid somewhere in the past and her journey takes her through several interesting periods of time!

New York City 1776
The Hanging of Nathan Hale

Nathan Hale was a martyred soldier of the revolutionary war, hanged as a spy at the age of 21. He was born in Connecticut in 1755. He was a graduate of Yale College and graduated among the top thirteen in his class. In 1774, after graduation, he took a job as a teacher at the Union Grammar School until he was commissioned as first lieutenant in the Seventh Connecticut regiment in 1775. 

In early September 1776, Washington was having a difficult time holding his place in New York. They were having trouble getting inside information that they needed about the enemy's plans. A group of officers was assembled and asked if any of them would like to undertake the job of spying within enemy lines. Nathan Hale volunteered.

As he was getting ready to leave enemy territory with all of his acquired information hidden in his shoe, he mistook a British boat for his boat back into friendly territory and was captured. The papers he had on him were damning and he was sentenced to be hung the next day. His final words were, "I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country."

London 1940
The Blitz

The Blitz was a strategic bombing campaign against the British by the Germans. It occurred between September 1940 and May 1941. It took 8 months, 18,000 pounds of high explosives were dropped, and 40,553 people were killed.

The first German airstrike on London occurred by accident. In August 1940, German bombers were targeting military locations on the outskirts of London when they got off course and dropped their bombs in the center of London instead. Homes were destroyed and civilians were killed. Churchill, believing the attack was deliberate, ordered bombs to be dropped on Berlin the next evening.

The British dropped bombs on Berlin on three separate occasions and the Germans were stunned. It was the first time bombs had ever been dropped on Berlin and they were assured by the Luftwaffe that it couldn't happen. The Nazis were furious and beginning on September 7th, 1940, they began a 57 night streak of bombing London and surrounding cities.

While the Germans had their sights set on destroying English cities, it gave the Royal Air Force a much needed break to do some repairs and train new pilots. They had been almost completely destroyed by the Luftwaffe.

People spent their nights in basements and in subway stations on makeshift beds with no privacy. Hitler's plan was to break the morale of the British people and force Churchill to negotiate, but he only succeeded in bringing the British people together and make them determined to hold out against the German bombing. It was business as usual.

The Royal Air Force began testing out some new radar technology that allowed them to track and plot the courses of German bombers from the minute they took off. Royal Air Force planes were then sent out to combat the Luftwaffe bombers from the best positions. This kept Germany from achieving air supremacy over England, causing them to give up on invading England and move on to invading the USSR.

Angkor 1685
Terrace of the Elephants

The Terrace of the Elephants today, is part of a ruined temple complex called Angkor Thom in Cambodia. It was built in the late 12th century by the Angkor king Jayavarman VII. It's purpose was for the king to view his victorious returning army. It's courtyard also served as a place to host religious ceremonies, parades, and sporting events. The king also appeared daily on the terrace to listen to the complaints and problems of his citizens.

The terrace is named for the nearly life size carvings of elephants on its eastern face. The terrace also hosts depictions of mythological animals and demons, such as a five headed horse. There are also carvings of Khmer warriors and dancers.

Though the original structure is mostly gone, as it was made from organic materials, the foundation platforms remain and it is considered the grandest royal terrace in Cambodia.


Captain Nathan Hale (1755 - 1776) by Rev. Edward Everett Hale
Terrace of the Elephants from Wikipedia
Terrace of the Elephants from Siem Reap Cambodia

I was going to include Wayfarer in this post as well, but the two parts of history that I was going to talk about were just giving me trouble in the googling department so I opted for just Passenger.

Have you read this book? What are your thoughts on it and these events? Have you ever heard of the Elephant Terrace? I sure haven't, but I'm pretty sure I have to see it now.

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