Geeks Fight Back
“I was a nerd who could kick your butt.” – Neil deGrasse Tyson
Alexander the Great
Aristotle taught him philosophy. Then he conquered the world.
Alfred the Great
Alfred, King of Wessex, initiated a great revival of learning in England. He restored Viking-damaged monasteries preserved much early literature and the language as a whole. He also reorganized the military defenses fought alongside his men.
Ralph Alger Bagnold
He founded the commando Long Range Desert Group that was responsible for much exploration, scouting, and transportation in World War II. He also had a great mind for physics and geology, which he used to write the book “The Physics of Blown Sand.” He made several other contributions to the scientific world and was awarded accordingly.
Hiram Bingham III
Though highly educated, he was not a trained archaeologist. Still, he managed to rediscover the ancient city Machu Picchu and then dedicated much of his time to South American expeditions. Later, he joined the U.S. Air Force and rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.
Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain
He was a professor at Bowdoin College until the Civil War broke out and his conscience told him to fight. Thanks to his skill in battle, most notably the Battle of Little Round Top at Gettysburg, he rose to the rank of Brigadier General. After the war, he returned to Maine where he served as governor then the president of Bowdoin.
Do you like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory? Have you at least seen the movie? Well that book, like many others, is written by a man named Roald Dahl who, after going on an exploration expedition in Newfoundland proceeded to become an ace pilot in the Royal Air Force. He survived at least one direct hit, severe war injuries, multiple crash landings, and an encounter with a German convoy after one of said crashes. Then he came home and became an astonishingly popular author, selling millions of copies of his creative children’s tales, though he only won a few awards for them.
After a rough childhood with much self-education and abuse, he beat up the slave-master who frequently whipped him. Then he became a prominent supporter of black rights and women’s rights, known for his oratory skills.
He’s a boat captain, animal wrangler, and wilderness survival expert. He shoots things. He blows stuff up. He… holds several patents, numerous awards, and a degree in Russian languages. That’s right! It’s Jamie Hyneman of Mythbusters fame. It’s nice to have some genuine talent on TV.
There were lots of “geeks” in the American Revolution – Thomas Edison and Benjamin Franklin, to name a couple, but most of them didn’t actually do any fighting. That’s why I’m digging around in obscure-people land to pull up Doctor/Major General Joseph Warren. Yup, when he wasn’t the master of a grammar school or writing for “the cause” he was a respected, practicing doctor (to John Adams and family, among others). Since he happened to live in Massachusetts when all the fighting went down, he felt it his duty to take up arms, from Lexington to Bunker Hill. He was often in the thick of the fight, whether fighting or tending to battle wounds. Eventually, he was killed in action at Bunker Hill.
Napoleon Bonaparte – He was brilliant and quite competent in the military, but that was pretty much the extent of his smarts.
Marcus Brutus – See my Hub on him. He was a philosopher and writer who, without experience in military command, ran a pretty successful campaign against Antonius and Octavius. He did make some errors in judgment, which is why he’s on this list.
Thomas Edward Lawrence – This writer led a revolt in Arabia, got captured and tortured, and then wrote a book about it. Not the best-written work ever, but the effort counts for something.
Richard III and Francis Lovell – These two were childhood friends, scholars, and warriors. Richard lead some good battles, and Francis lead a revolution against a pretender to the crown, participating firsthand in the fighting. They weren’t complete bookworms, but they were pretty close.
Maximilien Robespierre – He was lawyer and orator who sent a lot of people to their deaths. You wouldn’t want to mess with him, but it was more due to his reputation than his actual presence.
Neil deGrasse Tyson – Dr. Tyson, director of the Hayden Planetarium, spent his high school years wrestling and boxing. If only he kept up with that.