I have known about the website Badass of the Week for a couple of years, and last July I bought the original book associated with it, Badass: A Relentless Onslaught of the Toughest Warlords, Vikings, Samurai, Pirates, Gunfighters, and Military Commanders to Ever Live. True to the title, the book is a collection of biographies about the most ornery characters in history, villains as well as heroes. When I read it, I felt that the author, Ben Thompson, exaggerated so much that I considered the material in the book to be humor as well as history.
Of course a book about tough guys would not be complete if it did not mention the Gurkhas, those fearless warriors from Nepal. There is a chapter in the book about Bhanbagta Gurung, a Gurkha hero from World War II, and when updating one of my own history papers, I quoted from that chapter in a footnote over here.
Mr. Thompson did not stop with the book; he wrote two more like it, and for the website he writes about more badass characters that he didn’t have room for in the books. One of his most recent subjects was the Byzantine emperor Basil II, because he inflicted such a nasty defeat on the Bulgars that he is also called Basil the Bulgar-Slayer. Because Basil had a long reign (976-1025), I discussed his career in two history papers. The first half of his reign is covered in Chapter 7 of my European history, and the second half is covered in Chapter 8. I reposted the second half in another message on this blog, on October 17, 2010.
Anyway, Mr. Thompson posted his piece on Basil II last September 21, and I just read it today. I was honored to find that he used my blog entry as one of his references; he posted a link to it in the bibliography. I would have preferred a link to The Xenophile Historian, but then he would have needed two links, not one. Mr. Thompson, if you are reading this, do you know I quoted you a couple of months ago? Thanks for returning the favor!