Review: Unseen Waterloo, Private Exhibition Launch, Somerset House

Every year since 2009, Sam Faulkner – photographer on other fascinating projects such as ‘Eagle Hunters’ and ‘Cocaine Wars’ – has travelled to the annual re-enactment of the Battle of Waterloo in Belgium to take photographs of ‘modern day’ Napoleonic soldiers.  Faulkner’s photographs give us a highly emotive insight into individual battlefield experience, recreating the faces of those who fought …

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National Maritime Museum announces ‘largest ever’ Pepys exhibition

What the press release says: Samuel Pepys: Plague, Fire, Revolution opening at the National Maritime Museum on 20 November 2015 will be the largest ever exhibition about the famous diarist with 200 objects from national and international museums, galleries and private collections. Pepys, one of the most colourful and appealing characters of the 17th-century, witnessed many of the great events …

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Kathryn Johnson Reviews ‘Five Came Back’ by Mark Harris

That The Second World War changed the world forever is an unquestionable fact. This book explores one of the less obvious impacts – on Hollywood.  Mark Harris’ Five Came Back is a fascinating snap shot – or should that be reel? – of how five of Hollywood’s  most talented, successful and notorious directors – John Ford, George Stevens, John Huston, …

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100 Years Ago – The Sinking of the RMS Lusitania, 7 May 1915

By Justin Reash As we find ourselves in the second year of the centenary of World War I, the sinking of the RMS Lusitania reminds us that the Great War was not limited to professional soldiers perishing in muddy trenches. No, the tragedy of the Lusitania poignantly embodies the total war that was born in the failures of autumn 1914. …

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Historians for Britain: The Betrayal of History and Historical Practice

By Fiona Whelan and Kieran Hazzard Historians for Britain consists of a group of scholars attempting to use history to push a political agenda by utilising history facts to aid in the debate about the relationship between Britain and the EU, but also to justify a renegotiation of Britain’s position within the EU. Representing the group, David Abulafia of the …

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EVENT! Pregnancy, False Pregnancy, and Questionable Heirs: Mary I and her Echoes

Pregnancy, False Pregnancy, and Questionable Heirs: Mary I and her Echoes 16 April 2015 Wednesday May 20 5-7pm Lecture Roberts G08, Sir David Davies Lecture Theatre, Roberts Building This illustrated lecture examines beliefs – medical and cultural – about phantom pregnancies in early modern England with specific connections to the political implications of Mary I’s false pregnancies. While historians have …

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THE BONES OF POCAHONTAS by Jane Dismore

The discovery of Richard III’s skeleton may not in itself be sufficient to disprove the dark stories about him but it has revived interest; perhaps one day man and myth will be separated for good. The process was respectful, from the first cut into the concrete, to the last handful of earth crumbled onto his coffin, giving him the dignity …

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Henry VII and Elizabeth of York’s Marriage Bed Rediscovered

This ancient, much-repaired but beautifully crafted bed frame discovered at auction in Chester in 2010 is an exceptional national treasure that will revolutionize the way we understand later medieval monarchs and their environment. When the owner invited me to inspect it, I had assumed like many others reasonably would, that this varnished, pre-Renaissance styled object must be a late Victorian …

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Animals of War

Ever since man realised that riding a horse into battle was much more effective than running on their own two feet, animals have become an effective and potent game changer in war. For Alexander the Great, the horse proved vital in carving out his empire in the ancient world. Alexander’s ‘Companian’ cavalry would charge forward in a wedge formation, their …

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Richard III – from zero to hero? By Tony Boullemier

THEY say the sun shines on the righteous. If so, the controversial reputation of King Richard lll was vindicated on Sunday, March 22. It was a glorious day for a funeral as the remains of our last Plantagenet king were taken back to Bosworth Field, the scene of his final fateful battle. There were so many of us at the …

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Murder, Mayhem and Music Hall: The Dark Side of Victorian London by Barry Anthony

During the first half of the nineteenth century the Strand’s reputation as a place of recreation was reinforced by new and expanded forms of entertainment. Where amateurs had previously ‘obliged’ at ‘Free and Easy’ concerts, professional performers started to appear in the singing rooms of taverns. Venues such as the Coal Hole, Strand, and the Cyder Cellars,  Maiden Lane, offered …

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Witchcraft in Early Modern Poland 1500-1800 by Wanda Wyporska

Here follows an extract from Wanda Wyporska’s new book Witchcraft in Early Modern Poland 1500-1800: In 1613 the good gentlemen of Kalisz’s municipal court arrived in the village of Kucharki to try Dorota of Siedlików and Gierusza Klimerzyna. Listening to a wide range of testimonies, they heard tell of sex with the Devil, ruined beer, stolen milk, a visit to …

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Five minutes with… Hallie Rubenhold

Hallie Rubenhold is an author, social historian and broadcaster. Her second book, Lady Worsley’s Whim, about a notorious 18th century Criminal Conversation (or adultery) trial has been adapted for screen by the BBC. Starring Natalie Dormer (Hunger Games, Game of Thrones), it will be broadcast in August. What is an historian? An historian is someone who is dedicated to an …

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David Tiedemann reviews ‘Clinton’s Grand Strategy’ by James D. Boys

What separates grand foreign policy strategy from simple opportunism?  This is the question that Clinton’s Grand Strategy, US Foreign Policy in a Post-Cold War World, by James D. Boys, struggles with.  The book attempts to defend the Clinton Administration from charges by critics that the president’s foreign policy was ad-hoc, and without an ideological grounding.  While the author is willing to explain Bill Clinton’s policy …

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World War One: Breaking the trench stalemate

As the commemorations of World War One grind on, there’s a pattern that seems to have been ignored by almost all media and historians. Curious? Then read on… One of the fears of Germany prior to the war was potentially becoming surrounded by hostile nations. So Germany was constantly looking for diplomatic ways to ease this pressure. This resulted in …

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