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Reviews ★★★☆☆ Asia 2. Late Modern 1. Contemporary 2019

Big Sister, Little Sister, Red Sister

★★★☆☆ (2019)
This is a book about the three most famous sisters in Chinese history: the Soong sisters. They were international celebrities: highly educated, politically pivotal and ridiculously rich. They embodied the changes and tensions of early twentieth century China as the country set its political engine-room to warp speed 9…

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Opinion

Personality in popular history

This post is a rumination on the pitfalls and promises of focussing a history book too much on personality… or not at all. Along the way I will touch upon the toilet habits of the first president of the China, the ancient secret to a healthy life, and the views of a talking mouse…

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Announcement

History books published in September 2021

I’m pretty impressed with the new history book line-up for September 2021: 23 new ones including some big hitters such as: Mary Beard with “Twelve Ceasars” Dan Jones with “Powers and Thrones” Peter Ackroyd with “Innovation: History of England” They are all worth a browse, with some of the others catching my eye being “What […]

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2020 8. All time periods ★★★★☆ Europe North America Reviews

Past Mistakes

★★★★☆ (2020)
Close your eyes and conjure up an image of Christopher Columbus… Did you do it? What did you see? If you are anything like me you will envisage a cheerful little fellow wearing a captains hat, pantaloons and buckled shoes…

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Opinion

Trauma or nostalgia? What does history mean in the USA 🇺🇸 and the UK 🇬🇧?

History can mean different things to different people. How is my UK perspective on the subject different from a United Statesian’s for example? What is the best way to study this difference? And why should we care?

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2021 8. All time periods ★★★★☆ Global Reviews

About Time

★★★★☆ (2021)
Clocks are about more than just telling the time. At one level this is a statement of the obvious: we all know that the watch you wear is not chosen purely for its practicality as a time-keeping device…

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2020 5. Ancient ★★★★☆ Europe Reviews

Thebes

★★★★☆ (2020)
In 371 BCE the Thebans achieved one of the most shocking victories in the history of warfare, by trouncing the previously invincible Spartans at the battle of Luectra despite being outnumbered almost two to one.

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Announcement

History books published in August 2021

Last month’s history books (August 2021) are a fairly eclectic mix – geographically and through time, with flag mix: 🇬🇧🇬🇧🇬🇧🇬🇧🇬🇧🇬🇧🇬🇧🇩🇪🇩🇪🇫🇷🇫🇷🇮🇪🇮🇳🇮🇹🇳🇱🇷🇴🇷🇺. The ones I have my eye on are: The Fall of Robespierre: 24 Hours in Revolutionary Paris (Colin Jones), Scenes from Prehistoric Life (Francis Pryor) and perhaps also Paul Kenyon’s history of Romania. We should […]

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1. Contemporary 1997 2. Late Modern ★★★★☆ Europe Reviews

In Defence of History

★★★★☆ (1997)
I have never knowingly met a post-modernist. Perhaps I have been going to the wrong parties – back in the days when I went to parties. I am keen to meet one. If you are one or can introduce one get in touch.

The reason that I am so interested to make this acquaintance is…

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2. Late Modern 2021 7. Pre-Human ★★★☆☆ Europe Reviews

Making Deep History

★★★☆☆ (2021)
How do you envisage a million years? Clive Gamble in “Making Deep History: Zeal, Perseverance and the Time Revolution of 1859” tell us that Charles Darwin was advised in 1868 to try this exercise: take a strip of paper 83 feet 9 inches (25.4 metres) long and stretch it around the walls of a large room. Then draw a thick thin pencil line across the strip that is 0.1 inches (2.5 mm) wide. This pencil line represents 100 years.