August 27, 2008 --- Democrats nominate Barack Obama for president, first African American nominated by a major political party for the office of President of the United States.
August 27, 1972 --- U.S. aircraft conduct heavy raids on Hanoi and Haiphong
In the heaviest bombing in four years, U.S. aircraft flatten North Vietnamese barracks near Hanoi and Haiphong as part of ongoing Operation Linebacker I, part of President Nixon’s response to the NVA Easter Offensive. Planes also hit bridges on the northeast railroad line to China. In an associated action, four U.S. ships raided the Haiphong port area after dark, shelling to within two miles of the city limits. As the U.S. ships withdrew from the area, the cruiser USS Newport Newssank one of two North Vietnamese patrol boats in pursuit, and destroyer USSRowan set the other on fire.
August 27, 1955 --- “The Guinness Book of Records” debuts
On this day in 1955, the first edition of “The Guinness Book of Records” is published in Great Britain; it quickly proves to be a hit. Now known as the “Guinness World Records” book, the annual publication features a wide range of feats related to humans and animals. To date, the book has sold more than 130 million copies, been translated into more than two dozen languages and is the top-selling copyrighted title in history.
The inspiration for the record book can be traced to November 1951, when Sir Hugh Beaver, managing director of the Guinness Brewery (founded in Dublin in 1759), was on a hunting trip in Ireland. After failing to shoot a golden plover, Beaver and the members of his hunting party debated whether the creature was Europe’s fastest game bird but were unable to locate a book with the answer.
Thinking that patrons of Britain’s pubs would enjoy a record book which could be used to settle friendly disagreements, Beaver decided to have one produced. He hired twin brothers Norris and Ross McWhirter, the founders of a London-based agency that provided facts and statistics to newspapers and advertisers. The book was intended to be given away for free in pubs to promote the Guinness brand; however, it turned out to be so popular the company started selling it that fall and it became a best-seller. An American edition debuted in 1956 and was soon followed by editions in a number of other countries. The McWhirters travelled the globe to research and verify records. Ross McWhirter was involved in compiling the book until his death in 1975 at the hands of Irish Republican Army gunmen; his brother Norris continued to serve as the book’s editor until 1986.