One of the oddities of teaching for a small school with a steadily declining budget is that you end up doing a little bit of everything. This year everything means in addition to teaching math, I am working as the 8th grade disciplinarian and teaching a math/writing enrichment/elective thing.
I am gearing up to teach it as a social studies/negotiation class using this awesome game. In preparation for it, I am doing a lot of reading about late 19th and earlier 20th century European history. My current book, and inspiration for this post, is Fall of Eagles, by CJ Sulzberger. Rather than try to describe it, I'll quote it and you can see why it is so delightful(?!)
"Outstanding among the Romanovs had been a creative, brilliant, visionary, half-mad giant and a German nymphomaniac, long since dead. Outstanding among the Hohenzollerns had been the psychopathic heir to a boorish father, one who aspired to the arts and culture of peace and became a familiar symbol of warlike talent, who dreamed of everything and left nothing. As for the Hapsburgs, since Charles V, the Wunderkind of political marriages, they slowly, steadily, undramatically but with the diginity of great noblemen, slid down the hill of fame. In each case the flicker of talent was submerged in a night of mediocrity."
If anyone has any good resources on this period (Franco-Prussian War of 1870 - WWI) let me know.