Candidate Profile

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EXPERTISE
Destinations & Ports
History - General
Travel & Destinations
Vikings & Scandinavia
World Affairs
PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE WITH:
BIOGRAPHY
Michael was born and raised in upstate New York and attended SUNY Binghamton for his BA in European history. Then he went overseas to the London School of Economics for his MA in International History. Returning to the US, Michael completed a PhD in Russian history at the University of Wisconsin. Michael Share taught numerous courses in European, Russian, US, military and diplomatic history for the past 40 years, either part time or full time, in the US, Russia, Hong Kong, and currently at the University of Macau. Michael has lived in the USA, Russia, the UK, Hong Kong and currently in Macau.

Michael enjoys reading horror, science fiction, and historical novels, films, and of course, travel to both new and old places. Over the past 50 years, Michael has traveled extensively in Southeast Asia, Australia, Europe, Russia, the Mediterranean, Arctic and Baltic Seas regions. Michael wrote a book on Russian Relations in Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, and is currently working on articles and a book describing Soviet Activities in Xinjiang and Tibet from 1917 up to 1990.
PRESENTATIONS
AUSTRALIA

1. The Making and Development of the Gold Coast.
The Gold Coast is located on the east coast of Australia, not far south of Brisbane, and is a large, populated, tourist resort area with an excellent climate, surfing beaches, canals, waterways, as well as a great nightlife. This lecture will outline its history and development from ancient times to the present.

2. Ned Kelly: Cold-Blooded Killer or Folk hero.
Ned Kelly, an Irish Australian bushranger, has gripped public imagination right up to the present time. A killer, bank robber, outlaw, or a symbol of Irish-Australian resistance and a folk hero, this lecture will explore the facts behind this current out-sized legend.

3. Australia and Australians in World War I: The Battle of Gallipoli.
The British and Commonwealth attack, including thousands of young Australians, was the biggest military event of 1915. Hundreds of thousands of British-led forces launched an amphibious attack on the Turkish coast at Gallipoli in the hopes of driving the Ottoman Empire out of the War. The results were huge—hundreds of thousands of dead, reputations of many suffered, and Australia developed a national consciousness. This lecture will describe the battle and its huge consequences. (Michael has taught courses on World War I)

4. Australian Cinema.
Australian cinema has been characterized as one of “boom and bust”, due to the unstable and cyclical nature of the industry. This lecture describes the dynamic and fascinating Australian film industry from 1896 to the present, which included numerous critical and commercial successes. A number of short video clips from a selection of major Australian films will also be shown.

SOUTHEAST ASIA

1. The Battle of Singapore, February 1942: An Impregnable Fortress that Crumbled.
The Battle of Singapore was arguably Britain’s greatest military defeat in its entire history. The Battle has been described as one that changed the world. Here we will discuss the reasons for the Japanese attack, how and why the Japanese were so successful and so quickly, why the British lost the Battle, despite numerical superiority, and the consequences of the Battle for Britain, Asia, and the World. (The author has taught courses on World War II)

2. “The Year of Living Dangerously”, 1965: A Dark Chapter in Indonesia’s History.
A twenty-five year old film by this name effectively depict the mysterious chaotic atmosphere of Jakarta in 1965, when huge, yet very under-covered events, occurred in this vast archipelago-nation: an alleged coup and counter-coup by the Indonesian army. This lecture will cover the events, as we now know it, in Indonesia in the mid and late 1960s, some half century ago, yet still shrouded in mystery a half-century later.

3. Singapore: The “Lion City”.
Singapore has grown from an outpost on the old East-West trade route to the busiest port in the world today. Singapore is the world’s only city-state, just north of the Equator with a population of 5.5 million. We will review Singapore’s history and major sites in this great stopover, or gateway to Southeast Asia.

4. A Sketch of Vietnam’s History.
In this lecture we will review pre-colonial Vietnam, then the French involvement culminating in a Communist-dominated war for independence after World War II, then America’s involvement, which ended in 1975, and lastly developments in Vietnam during the past 40 years. (Michael has taught courses on Vietnam’s history)

5. Hanoi: “the Paris of the East”.
Hanoi is the capital of Vietnam and the country’s second largest city with nearly 8 million people. Hanoi is described as a city with “sweeping boulevards, tree-fringed lakes, and ancient pagodas”. We will review Hanoi’s long history and its many sights in this lecture.

6. Central Vietnam: Da Nang, Hue, and Hoi An.
Da Nang is Vietnam’s third largest city, and a rapidly changing one. Hoi An, once Vietnam’s most cosmopolitan port, has narrow streets and alleys, excellent restaurants and shops, and beautiful temples and pagodas. Hue, the nineteenth century capital, has a splendid citadel and royal palace, a Forbidden City, and ancient temples. Central Vietnam has those and other remarkable sites, which you will visit.

7. Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). Ho Chi Minh City is a very fast paced kinetic city of commerce and culture.
Today it is the largest city in Vietnam, some 10 million in population; earlier it was the capital of French Cochin China; and a bit later in the mid-twentieth century, South Vietnam. In this lecture, we will outline some of Saigon’s history and demography.

8. Bangkok.
A huge city, Thailand’s largest, of some 10 million is a bewildering blend of old and new, exotic and commonplace, all merged into this vast city. Here we will review Bangkok’s history, its demography, cuisine, and major sights in one of Asia’s most popular tourist destinations millions visit each year. (Michael has lectured at Chulalongkorn University, the country’s pre-eminent university, and has delivered several lectures at the Russian Embassy during the past four years)

EUROPE:
MEDITERANEAN AND AEGEAN SEAS


1. Rome: the Eternal City.
Rome is one of the world’s greatest cities, a living museum, an archeological archive, but also a vibrant city of today, located in the west-central portion of the Italian peninsula. We will review Rome’s almost 3000-year history, from the capital of the Ancient Roman Republic, to the capital of a vast advanced Empire, to the capital of today’s Italian republic. We shall also describe some of the major sights of Rome: Ancient Rome, Vatican Rome, and a few of its districts, all making Rome truly an “eternal city.”

2. Southern Italy: Sorrento, the Amalfi Coast, and Sicily.
Southern Italy is a real mix of dramatic coastal scenery, forgotten mountains, ancient ruins and cities, and modern Italy. Sorrento, a beautiful town, overlooks the Bay of Naples. The Amalfi coast has one of the most beautiful coastlines in Europe, containing one town after another along its coastal road featured in several films. Sicily has stunning scenery, and an ancient history dating back thousands of years.

3. Crete and Santorini, Greece.
Crete is one of the largest islands in the Mediterranean, and home to one of the world’s oldest civilizations, the Minoan. Santorini is an almost magical-appearing island with high cliffs, white painted homes with blue roofs setting against a blue sky. In this lecture I will outline some of its very long history, as well as major sights in both Crete and Santorini.

4. Ephesus (Turkey) and Rhodes (Greece).
Ephesus was an ancient Greek city, once one of the largest cities in the ancient world with a population of 250,000. Rhodes is a beautiful island with unspoiled villages. The old town of Rhodes is the largest inhabited medieval walled town in Europe. Here too we shall review the two places’ histories and major sights.

5. Mykonos.
While a small island with a small year-round population, Mykonos is one of the most visited of all the Greek islands, with a very active nightlife and beautiful white sandy beaches. Just off its coast is an important archeological site-island, Delos, one of Ancient Greece’s major religious centers.

6. Athens.
Athens is the capital and largest city of Greece. In the ancient world, Classical Athens was a center for the arts, learning, and philosophy, as well as the birthplace of democracy. Today Athens is a large cosmopolitan metropolis, central to today’s Greece’s political, financial, industrial and cultural life. We shall briefly review Athens’ 3500-year history, as well as its many sights, most notably, but not solely the Acropolis.

BALTIC SEA

1. Sweden.
Sweden today is a medium sized affluent country, peace loving, and an active member of the European Union. Three centuries ago, Sweden was one of Europe’s great powers, possessing an Empire ringing most of the Baltic Sea, with a large and powerful army and navy. This lecture will survey Sweden’s great history from its medieval Viking times to the present.

2. Stockholm: From Viking Kings to Modern Crime Thrillers.
Sweden’s capital is one of the most beautiful major cities in the world, “a mirage of saffron and terracotta-colored buildings shimmering between blue water and bluer skies all summer, or in the winter, covered with snow and dotted with lights. It is also a modern, vibrant city. We will review the city’s long history, and major sights.

3. The Vikings.
These Norse explorers, warriors, merchants, and pirates raided, traded, explored, and settled in wide areas of Europe, Asia, the Mediterranean, and even the North Atlantic from the late 8th century to the mid-11th century, or some 200 years. Their influence profoundly affected European history, both negatively and positively. This lecture will explore their history, and contributions to Europe and the World.

4. Copenhagen.
Copenhagen is Denmark’s largest city and capital, with a population of some 2 million people. Its history dates back one thousand years, and Copenhagen became a regional center some four hundred years ago. Today Copenhagen remains a major center in business, media, science, and other fields. We will review the history and development of this fascinating city, and discuss its major sights.

5. Tallinn: From Hansa Medieval Port to Post-Soviet Modern.
On one hand, Tallinn is a very old city, some 1000 years old; on the other hand Tallinn is a very modern and up-to-date city. Tallinn is the capital and largest city of Estonia with a population over 400,000. Its walled Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage site. We will review Tallinn’s long troubled past, and its very bright future.

6. Helsinki: A Finnish Jewel of the North.
Helsinki is a jewel, due to its beautiful architecture, clean air, and its lovely setting among islands and the sea. Helsinki is the largest city and capital of Finland with a population of some 600,000. In this lecture we will review its history, and major sights. (The author lived in Helsinki where he conducted research in its excellent Slavic Library.)

7. St. Petersburg: The Venice of the North.
St. Petersburg is Russia’s second largest city, its second capital after Moscow, and remains Russia’s cultural capital. It is called the “Venice of the North” because St. Petersburg has more canals than Venice. We will outline St. Petersburg 300 year history, and discuss some of the most important sights, inside and adjoining the city. (The author has lived and taught in St. Petersburg twice during the 1990s and visits the city frequently).

8. Nine Hundred Days: the Siege of Leningrad, 1941-1944.
Within six months of their invasion in June 1941, German and Finnish forces ringed Leningrad, the Soviet Union’s second largest city. For the three years little got in and out. Despite immense suffering, the city and its people survived. Today we will briefly describe this critical chapter during World War II. (The author has taught courses on World War II, which featured the Eastern Front).

9. The Winter War: “David vs. Goliath”: Finland vs. the Soviet Union, 1939-1945.
Without a declaration of war, in November 1939, the huge Soviet Union attacked little Finland. As the Finns courageously resisted hundreds of thousands of Soviet troops, hundreds of tanks and airplanes, the world watched in great fascination. Here we will discuss this amazing chapter in World War II: its causes, events, and great consequences for Scandinavia and indeed for the entire war.

10. Russian Art of Social Protest.
In the middle of the nineteenth century, Russian art turned from religious themes in icons and paintings, to portraying life in that poor and rural huge country, as it really was. Russian art became both photographic and emotional. With numerous slides of Russian paintings, many of which can be viewed in St. Petersburg in the Russian Musem, the lecture describes and shows this beautiful art form.

NORWAY AND THE ARCTIC

1. The War in the North: the Scandinavian Campaign, 1940.
Against their will, neutral Norway and Denmark became embroiled in World War II in 1940. Both sides recognized their huge geographical and strategic importance. We will examine the reasons for the crucial Scandinavian campaign, its course, and its consequences on the war effort, as well as on Norway and Denmark itself.

2. Tromso and Honningsvag: Polar cities in the Land of the Midnight Sun.
During the long summer Polar days, we will sail along the rugged island-dotted, windswept, barren northern coast of Norway. Along the way, two cities require our attention. Tromso is the largest city in Northern Norway, and due to its cosmopolitan lifestyle, is often called “the Paris of the North”. Honningsvag is arguably the northernmost city in the entire world, and is the gateway to the North Cape, the northernmost point in Europe, where one sees the only genuine Arctic scenery in Europe.

3. Norway: An Old Civilization, a Modern Country.
Norway’s history has always been influenced to an extraordinary degree by its location, terrain, and climate. From hunters and fishermen, to seafaring Viking explorers, to control from the Swedes and Danes, Norway only became independent in 1905. Norway emerged into the modern world with modernization, war, and oil-riches.

4. Bergen: Norway’s Second City and Gateway to the Fjords.
With a relaxed atmosphere, a stunning setting, and vibrant cultural life, Bergen is an appealing mix of the cosmopolitan and the outdoor, with an easy access to the western fjords. We shall examine Bergen’s history, dating back some 1000 years: Norway’s first capital, a great and ecclesiastical center, and until modern times, Norway’s largest city and trading hub for Northwest Europe.
CRUISE HISTORY / EXPERIENCE
CRUISES ALREADY DONE
February 2012: Rhapsody of the Seas (Royal Caribbean) Australia to Singapore.
June - August 2012: two Baltic cruises, one for Royal Caribbean and one for Azamara; and one Arctic cruise on Vision of the Seas for Royal Caribbean.
December 2016: Azamara cruise from Hong Kong to Singapore
June 2017: two Azamara Mediterranean cruises from Nice to Athens and then around the Greek islands.
RECENT PAST CRUISES COMPLETED
The following recent Cruise History has been recorded for this candidate.
SHIP REF CRUISE DESCRIPTION NIGHTS SAILING FROM DEPARTURE DATE
Crown Princess 3920 British Isles (with Liverpool) Cruise 12 Southampton Wednesday, July 24, 2019