Category Archives: Uncategorized

Short Cuts to My Thoughts

I get a number of these: emails from school students hoping – in effect – that I’ll write their essays for them. I imagine she’s contacted other historians too. Doesn’t it occur to them that we might have expressed our … Continue reading

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Walking Slow Behind You

When I first published books I used to eagerly check all the papers for reviews of them, usually taking hours to leaf through all the likely ones in my university library. (This was before Google Search, of course.) Now I … Continue reading

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Help Wanted

I’m greatly missing the Swedish summer, and my beloved sambo. Can anyone advise me how to get from Hull to Stockholm during lockdown? Strictly speaking, as a vulnerable oldie I shouldn’t leave my house; and even then of course there’s … Continue reading

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Dominic and Niccolo

Renaissance Florence isn’t ‘my period’ – to trot out the familiar historian’s defence – but I do wonder whether the Medicis don’t provide the closest precedent for present-day British politics; not in their bloodiness, of course, but in the amorality … Continue reading

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Classic Dom

Boris can’t get rid of Dominic. He’s his brain. Boris on his own is glib, lazy and fundamentally stupid. Dominic by contrast is – not exactly intelligent, I would say, but cunning. He read History at University: a more cerebral … Continue reading

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Sixth Edition

I’m working just now on the copy-edit of the new edition of my The Lion’s Share, due out in September. It’s very little changed from the 5th edition (2012), apart from a new concluding chapter on ‘Brexit and the Empire’, … Continue reading

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Blogging

I’ve been watching the rather prescient 2011 film Contagion (Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow…). Quite incidentally, I was struck by this statement, from the mouth of the character played by Elliot Gould: ‘Blogging isn’t writing. It’s graffiti with punctuation.’ That’s put me in my place.

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The Ultimate Sacrifice?

Of course I have no informed opinion about when to shut down the Lockdown, or any of the other matters surrounding the Coronavirus pandemic. I’m the last person to ask about matters of the body, for years having confused my … Continue reading

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VE Day

I have no memory of VE Day, though I was four and bit years old at the time. (The ‘and a bit’ is of course important at that age.) I do remember some things about the War years themselves, including … Continue reading

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Tragedy and Farce

If Boris Johnson thinks that Churchill’s main contribution to Britain’s War effort was to keep people’s spirits up, then I go along with him. Churchill was not a great military strategist (viz. Gallipoli, and a string of hair-brained ideas during … Continue reading

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