Latest from the H for History blog

Read an extract from The Wicked Cometh by Laura Carlin

Posted on: 02/01/2019 with tags: debut novel, extract, 19th Century, Georgian, London

The Wicked Cometh is the beguiling historical mystery from debut author Laura Carlin, shortlisted for the Books Are My Bag Breakthrough Author Award. Read an extract here: The Wicked Cometh by Laura Carlin London, 1831 Do you think you know London? They say it’s the finest city in all of Europe. Perhaps you once stood and marvelled at the dome of St Paul’s? Or took a ride on a passenger craft and wove your way past the wherries and steamers as the great Thames carried you to the heart of the cit…

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Decorated SOE Major betrayed by political infighting by Damien Lewis

Posted on: 27/12/2018

Caused his untimely death and the defeat of one of Italy’s most feared band of partisans. In a quiet yet picturesque commonwealth war cemetery in Genoa, Italy, lies a man who lived an adventurer’s life. His headstone portrays nothing of his exploits, the name carved on it isn’t the one he was known by during the war, and the regimental badge thereon obscures the elite ‘Special Duty’ unit to which he really belonged. The dedication at the bottom of the headstone – “In proud and affectionate memor…

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How Queen Victoria invented the Royal Wedding

Posted on: 20/12/2018 with tags: history, Lucy Worsley, Queen Victoria, 19th Century, Royal Family, Royal Wedding, Victorian

Victoria and Albert’s famous marriage began with a spectacular royal wedding, just like Prince Harry and Meghan Markle earlier this year. We enjoyed the familiar carriage ride along the streets, the big white dress, the scores of bridesmaids, and the general air of fairytale romance. But the royal wedding as it is today, and in fact many of the wedding traditions we all enjoy on our own big day, wouldn’t have existed without Queen Victoria. Here are just a few of the ways Victoria shaped modern…

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Daring SAS behind-the-lines raid on French Chateau fortress by Damien Lewis

Posted on: 15/12/2018

SAS sortie convinced enemy to flee non-existent Allied advance. The role played by Special Forces in any army is to hit fast and hit hard. Many argue the letters ‘SAS’ actually stand for ‘speed, aggressions, surprise.’ Their role is to sow confusion in the minds of the enemy, making them believe they face a bigger force than they actually do, using the minimum amount of men to do so. It’s a role they forged in WWII – a handful of insanely brave men with minimal arms, transport and supplies, doin…

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Do you what it takes to be a spy?

Posted on: 13/12/2018 with tags: Puzzles, secret service, Sinclair McKay, 20th Century

It’s time to pit your wits against the secret heroes of MI5 and MI6 and find out if YOU have what it takes to be a spy! Whether you have linguistic flair, an instinct for technology or good old common sense, pit your wits against some of the greatest minds of our time with ingenious brainteasers including secret languages, sabotage themed brain bogglers, deadly countdowns and hidden codes. Weaving astonishing stories of the men and women who operate from the shadows, the secret heroes and heroin…

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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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