On this day, 9 April, 599 years ago, Henry V was crowned king of England. It snowed heavily in London that day. Writing a few years later, but before the king died in 1422, Thomas Walsingham, the resident chronicler at St Albans Abbey, recalled two interpretations of this unseasonable weather. Some thought it portended that the king would be cold hearted and rule his subjects harshly; others took it as an omen that vice would be frozen and new virtues would flourish in the coming spring. Both were correct.
9 Apr 2014 11:50:00
8 Apr 2014 08:30:00
Lieutenant-Colonel Roger Hesketh was a member of General Eisenhower’s deception unit, Ops B, and was a key figure in Operation Fortitude, the great Allied deception carried out against the Germans to support the Normandy campaign. After the war, Hesketh wrote a book on Fortitude, and in it he asked the question: of all the elements employed to deceive the enemy, from the fake runways and aircraft, to the dummy airborne troops, and the double agents feeding disinformation, which one had the greatest effect? Which part of Fortitude had actually fooled the Germans?Read More
27 Feb 2014 08:30:00
Dr David Sim is an archaeologist who has combined studies of the technology of the Roman Empire with his skills as a blacksmith to provide an interesting and insightful study of ancient iron production and is invaluable to students of archaeology and professional archaeologists alike.
This book is particularly useful as a sourcebook or a point for further research as it gives a different perspective to most archaeology books as it is based more on experimental archaeology, allowing us to understand production in a new way. The appendix gives a list of iron artifacts in British museums, thus providing excellent assistance for finding further information.Read More
17 Feb 2014 10:00:00
With all the celebrations surrounding the 200th anniversary of the publication of Pride & Prejudice last year, you could be forgiven for thinking that 1813 was the most important year in Jane Austen’s short life. But 2014 – marks the bicentenary of the year I believe marks the real zenith in the life of Jane Austen, novelist. For in 1814 she began to properly enjoy the fruits of her labours and some reward for her remarkable talent.
13 Jan 2014 08:05:00
‘Tommies on the Aisne 1914’ is an exhibition which will be open from 16th April 2014 until 20th December 2014 at the Caverne du Dragon, Musée du Chemin des Dames, France. The purpose of the exhibition is to commemorate the centenary of the Battle of the First Aisne. The exhibition will comprise of images, documents, artefacts which have been sourced from various sources, including Paul Kendall’s book ‘Aisne 1914: The Dawn of Trench Warfare’(Published by The History Press). The exhibition will tell the story of the BEF’s journey to the Aisne from the UK, via Mons and the Marne. It will highlight the entente cordial between British and French armies and their resilience and determination as they crossed the River Aisne under shellfire, established a bridgehead on the northern bank and then climbed the steep ridges of the Chemin des Dames where they fought the Battle of the First Aisne during September 1914.These exhausted soldiers had no knowledge whether the German forces would continue their withdrawal northwards towards Laon or hold the line.
The exhibition will enforce the fact that the first trenches of the Western Front that stretched across the European frontier were dug during Aisne 1914. Part of the exhibition will be set in a room within the museum which has panoramic views of the Aisne valley where visitors will be able to appreciate the enormity of the task that befell the soldiers of the BEF as they clambered up these heights. This exhibition will appeal to visitors who have knowledge of this battle as well to people who have no knowledge of the events that took place here a hundred years ago. This is a French initiative being funded by the French Government. Throughout the year various events will take place including lectures and walks of the battlefield to commemorate the centenary year of Aisne 1914.
La Caverne du Dragon, Musée du Chemin des Dames
Chemin des Dames – RD 18 CD
Telephone: 03 23 25 14 18
Paul Kendall served as an Honorary Midshipman with the University of London Royal Naval Unit from 1990 to 1994. He is the author of the best-selling The Zeebrugge Raid 1918: ‘The Finest Feat of Arms’, Bullecourt 1917: Breaching the Hindenburg Line and Aisne 1914: The Dawn of Trench Warfare. As anyone who has read those books will know, his research is of another order.
14 Dec 2013 11:30:00
Mason provides here a very important addition to understanding the Roman Empire and especially Roman Britain. His work gives a chronological analysis of the foundation, growth and decline of the Roman fortress and town throughout and just after the Roman period, and provides a context by discussing what was happening in Britain at the time. Mason's book is not for the uninitiated - you have to have some knowledge of Rome and how she was governed and defended before approaching this book but, once you have that knowledge, you will find reading this book a very rewarding experience, as Mason comprehensively details the life and times of the Roman garrison and later town at Deva.
16 Nov 2013 11:30:00
In September 1983 the Third World War broke out when the USSR and the USA unleashed their formidable nuclear arsenals against each other. Eleven months later, the British Prime Minister was among those assassinated by a terrorist bomb during the Conservative party conference. Over four centuries earlier, in January 1536 to be precise, King Henry VIII was thrown from his horse which then fell on top of him, and he was killed.
Neither of these three events actually happened, but had it not been for a twist of fate they surely would have come to pass. This extremely entertaining, informative volume presents fifty chapters on the above three episodes, plus many more close shaves from the 1st century AD to the present day.Read More
15 Nov 2013 14:00:00
The Friday Digest showcases the best of this week's history and publishing news.Read More
19 Oct 2013 12:20:00
One of the most lingering images of the sinking of the Titanic, is that of the band playing while all the lifeboats sailed away, regardless of their own safety. All eight band members perished that night. Their leader was Wallace Hartley, who had not been famous, but had lived a life of relative obscurity, a life he had devoted to music.Read More
3 Oct 2013 12:00:00
The chemical weapons attack in Syria has reminded the world just how horrific the use of poison gas in conflict can be. Of course the use of gas as a method of mass killing has been around since the First World War. Who could fail to be moved by Wilfrid Owen’s description of the victims ‘drowning’ through the effects in his poem Dulce et Decorum Est.Read More