Blog > Tag: 20th-century

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Spot the deception: Guy Burgess true or false

Posted on: 28/06/2016 with tags: andrew lownie, cambridge spies, Cambridge spy, espionage, stalin's englishman, 20th Century

Put your detective skills to the test. Can you work out which 2 of these incredible facts about Guy Burgess are the hidden lies? Let us know in the comments below! 1/ Guy Burgess played in the Eton football 1st XI . 2/ His stepfather was an intelligence officer working with Lawrence of Arabia during the First World War. 3/ Guy Burgess’s sexual partners included three other Cambridge spies – Donald Maclean, Anthony Blunt and Michael Straight. 4/ Victor, later Lord Rothschild, was charged with man…

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Why the Balkan War?

Posted on: 21/04/2016 with tags: annabelle thorpe, Balkan War, the people we were before, 20th Century, European

‘Wars are not easy to sell.’ one agent wrote to me, when I was trying to find a home for The People We Were Before, ‘And the Balkan War? That’s more difficult than most.’ It wasn’t what I wanted to hear, but in all honesty it wasn’t a huge surprise. From 1990-1995 a vicious, horrible civil war took place in the heart of Europe. Our continent. And yet most people know little about it and understand even less. Before I wrote The People We Were Before, I was one of them. When I decided to write a n…

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Inspired by The Killing Fields

Posted on: 29/01/2016 with tags: Cambodia, Jacob's Colours, Lindsay Hawdon, The Killing Fields, 20th Century, Asian History, World History

Lindsay Hawdon has written this brilliant and moving article for us about her trip to Cambodia which helped inspire her novel Jakob’s Colours: ‘In October 2011 I set off with my two young boys on a trip around South East Asia for a year.  Though Jakob’s Colours is set during WWII, the following story very much affected a large part of the writing.  The events that occurred in Cambodia, only thirty six years ago, are very similar to what occurred during the holocaust.  Tragically they are still o…

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The last Russian Christmas

Posted on: 01/12/2015 with tags: christmas, laurie graham, Russia, 20th Century

Christmas 1916.  In just a few weeks  –  bearing in mind that the Russian Orthodox church used (and still uses) the Julian calendar, with Christmas celebrated on January 7th  – the cataclysm of the February Revolution was going to change Russia forever. The way Christmas was celebrated depended very much on who you were and where you lived. In 1916 St Petersburg was still the capital and its inhabitants had a high opinion of themselves and their (literally) westward-looking city. They looked dow…

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