Michael Crichton (1942)

While pursuing a medical degree at Harvard University, the intensely private Crichton began writing novels under a pseudonym. He published The Andromeda Strain during his final year and went on to write several best-selling works, many of which were made into films, including Jurassic Park and Congo. He unexpectedly died of throat cancer in 2008. While in college, he once submitted an essay by George Orwell under his own name as an experiment. What grade did he receive? Discuss
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Franz Liszt (1811)

Liszt was a revolutionary figure of romantic music. Born in Hungary, he made his debut at age 9 and studied in Vienna with Salieri. After his father’s death and a disastrous love affair, he almost gave up music for the priesthood. Nevertheless, “Lisztomania” swept Europe in the 1840s, and Liszt enthralled audiences with his astounding technique and grand, dramatic style of playing. Thereafter, he taught and composed prolifically. In 1861, he nearly married a princess but was thwarted—by what? Discuss
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John Birks “Dizzy” Gillespie (1917)

Considered one of the main innovators of bebop along with Charlie Parker, Gillespie was an American jazz trumpeter, composer, arranger, and bandleader. His virtuosity and comic wit—in addition to his trademark puffed cheeks and 45-degree upturned trumpet bell—made him one of the most charismatic and influential musicians in jazz. Gillespie was once struck by a car while riding his bicycle. Though he was injured only slightly, a jury awarded him $1,000 because he could no longer do what? Discuss
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Pauline Bonaparte (1780)

A woman of great beauty and considerable scandal, Pauline Bonaparte was Napoleon’s favorite sister. She accompanied her first husband on an expedition to subdue Haiti, but he failed and died of yellow fever. Pauline then married a Roman nobleman, but she soon tired of him and returned to Paris, where her scandalous conduct earned her a reputation. Pauline was the only one of Napoleon’s siblings to come to his aid when he was exiled to Elba, despite having incurred his disfavor for what?
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John McLoughlin (1784)

A Canadian doctor and fur trader, McLoughlin became administrator of the far western region of England’s Hudson’s Bay Company in the 1820s. In spite of the strained relations between Britain and the US, “the Father of Oregon” offered help to American settlers in the disputed territory. After an 1846 treaty established the US-Canadian border farther north than he had hoped, he claimed a large tract of land whose ownership he disputed with the US until his death. Who was he accused of murdering? Discuss
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