by Rudyard Kipling
Brain Snacks: Tasty Tidbits of Knowledge
We find it a little hard to imagine, since Kipling so strongly associates himself with the British Empire, but he actually spent some time living in the small American town of Brattleboro, Vermont, in the late 1890s. Kipling married an American woman, and it was in their house in Brattleboro—called Naulakha—that he wrote The Jungle Book. You can still visit Naulakha today—in fact, you can arrange to stay there, if you have a desperate desire to bathe in Rudyard Kipling's own bathtub. (Source.)
If you think the game-filled education Kim receives in this novel is all abstract fantasy, think again: Kipling's ideas in this book have actually influenced real-life organizations's training methods. The Jewel Game that Lurgan teaches to Kim appears in the original Boy's Scout manual by Boy's Scout founder Sir Robert Baden-Powell (check out the listing under "Chapter IV: Indoor Games," under the name "Kim's Game"). (Source.)
It isn't just the Boy Scouts who are training Kim-style. The American Army Ranger Snipers use a similar kind of training exercise, under the name KIMS Game, to this day. (Source.)
In a weird historical coincidence, arch-imperialist Rudyard Kipling and the great Indian civil rights leader Mahatma Gandhi both lived in South Africa at the same time, during South Africa's transition from a British colony to a (still brutally segregated) independent Republic at the turn of the twentieth century. The two of them never met, though: Kipling spent winters in South Africa hanging out with British colonial administrators such as Cecil Rhodes while Gandhi was practicing as a lawyer in Durban and Johannesburg and campaigning for rights for Indians living abroad in the British Empire.
Tragically, Kipling's only son, seventeen-year old John Kipling, was killed in World War I at the Battle of Loos. To make matters way (way) worse, John had initially flunked the health inspection to get into the army—Kipling actually pulled strings for his son to make sure that John could go to France as a soldier, where he was killed only six weeks later. Kipling never really recovered from John's death, and he struggled with depression for many years afterwards. (Source.)