Latest from the H for History blog

A must-have for anyone interested in cartography: Theatre of the World

Posted on: 11/12/2018 with tags: christmas, history

Theatre of the World reignites our curiosity with the world both ancient and modern. It is beautifully illustrated and rich in detail. Before you could just scroll Google Maps, maps were being constructed from the ideas and questions of pioneering individuals. From visionary geographers to heroic explorers, from the mysterious symbols of the Stone Age to the familiar navigation of Google Earth, Thomas Reinertsen Berg examines the fascinating concepts of science and worldview, of art and technolo…

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Pickles and Guilt: a Nineteenth-Century Christmas at Sea by Elizabeth Lowry

Posted on: 11/12/2018

If you find Christmas preparations stressful, spare a thought for the crew of the Pequod. In Moby-Dick (1851) it is Christmas Day when this ill-starred whaling ship plunges ‘like fate into the lone Atlantic’. Captain Ahab is a Quaker, and nineteenth-century Quakers don’t do Christmas. But they do do whaling. ‘Everyone knows’, writes Melville, ‘what a multitude of things – beds, saucepans, knives and forks, shovels and tongs, napkins, nut-crackers, and what not, are indispensable to the business…

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The Big Freeze

Posted on: 04/12/2018

Extracted from The King’s War, by Mark Logue and Peter Conradi, an incredible insight into the monarchy during the darkest days of WWII. The King’s War draws on diaries, letters and other documents left by George VI’s speech therapist, Lionel Logue, and his wife, Myrtle. It provides a fascinating portrait of two men and their respective families – the Windsors and the Logues – as they together faced up to the greatest challenge in Britain’s history. The first full year of the war began with a bi…

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Damien Lewis tells us how Italian Resistance and SOE agents were betrayed by Allies

Posted on: 27/11/2018

How Allied high command turned their backs on Italian partisans and SOE. When endeavouring to tell a story that concerns behind the lines raids, partisan armies and epic journeys deep into enemy territory, one invariably bumps up against the shadowy world of intelligence. Any “special operation” will have some ties to this secretive, murky arena of warfare. The mystery men with their hidden agendas pop into the light fleetingly, to give soldiers their targets and orders, only to slide back into…

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Sandringham House, where the Royal Family celebrate Christmas: an insider’s view from 1956

Posted on: 23/11/2018 with tags: hugo vickers, queen mary, quest for queen mary, royal christmas, Royal family, sandringham, 20th Century, British History, English History, Royal Family

When James Pope-Hennessy began his work on Queen Mary’s official biography in 1956, it opened the door to meetings with royalty, court members and retainers around Europe. The series of candid observations, secrets and indiscretions contained in his notes were to be kept private for 50 years. Now published in full for the first time and edited by the highly admired royal biographer Hugo Vickers, The Quest for Queen Mary is a riveting, often hilarious portrait of the eccentric aristocracy of a by…

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Read an extract from Simon Scarrow’s THE BLOOD OF ROME

Posted on: 14/11/2018 with tags: extract, Macro and Cato, simon scarrow, The Blood of Rome, Roman

Ctesiphon, capital city of the Parthian Empire, March, AD 55 The setting sun lit up the broad stretch of the Tigris river, so that it gleamed like molten gold against the pale orange of the sky. The air was still and cool, and the last clouds of the thunderstorm that had drenched the city had passed to the south, leaving the faintest odour of iron in the gathering dusk. The servants of the royal palace were scurrying about their duties as they prepared the riverside pavilion for that evening’s m…

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Damien Lewis tells the story of David “Mad Piper” Kirkpatrick in audacious SAS mission.

Posted on: 06/11/2018

David ‘Mad Piper’ Kirkpatrick recruited by SAS as audacious mission decoy: ordered to play Highland Laddie as raiders went in on war’s most daring raid Bagpipes have a long history when it comes to war, one of pipers at the head of Scottish regiments piping them to glory. When researching my new book ­SAS Italian Job – which tells the story of one of the most audacious raids of the war – I was amazed to find that legendary SAS commander Major Roy Farran had put in a special request for what he s…

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Living in the Past – Julian Stockwin

Posted on: 31/10/2018

I write the Thomas Kydd series, set in the Great Age of Fighting Sail, the period of the French revolutionary and Napoleonic wars (1793-1815). One of the questions I’m often asked when I give talks about my books is would I liked to have lived back then. It’s an interesting point to ponder, especially given the creature comforts we enjoy today like a bracing hot shower in a cold morning and the push-button warmth of central heating. Then there’s the wonders of the modern age such as the internet…

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Fourteen facts you didn’t know about the Queen’s corgis

Posted on: 29/10/2018

Fourteen facts about the history of corgis in the royal family. Test your knowledge and see if you already knew them… 1) Queen Victoria started the trend for keeping dogs as pets. She had more than a hundred dogs during her lifetime and 28 different breeds. 2) Queen Victoria was one of the the first people in Britain to own a dachshund – now one of the country’s most popular small breeds. 3) The first corgi to be owned by the the current Queen’s family was Dookie – bought because the seven-yea…

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The King’s War by Mark Logue and Peter Conradi

Posted on: 17/10/2018

Victory! It’s two weeks until publication day for The King’s War, by Mark Logue and Peter Conradi, an incredible insight into the monarchy during the darkest days of WWII. The King’s War draws on diaries, letters and other documents left by George VI’s speech therapist, Lionel Logue, and his wife, Myrtle. It provides a fascinating portrait of two men and their respective families – the Windsors and the Logues – as they together faced up to the greatest challenge in Britain’s history. VE Day dawn…

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