Categories
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…

Categories
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…

Categories
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?

Categories
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…

Categories
Opinion

Why new history books? What’s wrong with the old ones?

On this site we try to find, read and review new history books (or mostly new ones – see FAQ). But are we right to focus on new books? Is there any reason to prefer a book about the Normans written in the last 5 years to one written 30 years ago – or 130 […]

Categories
1961 2. Late Modern ★★★★★ Europe Reviews

What is History?

★★★★★ (1961)
There is something about the theory of history or historiography – ie how and why the study of history is conducted – that can inflame passions among professional historians. Seemingly mild mannered individuals can become enraged, and previously impersonal prose becomes peppered with personal insults.

Categories
Opinion

If history is wrong, does it matter?

“..at the end, Garder [the last Norse settlement in Greenland] was like an overcrowded lifeboat… famine and associated disease would have caused a breakdown of respect for authority… starving people would have poured into Gardar… slaughtering the last cattle and sheet… eating the dogs and newborn livestock…” Jared Diamond, Collapse So writes Jared Diamond on […]