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The History Vault

Five Minutes With… Dr Adam Smith

Dr Adam I. P. Smith is an historian, author and senior lecturer at University College London specialising in 19th century American history. His publications include  The American Civil War (American History in Depth) and  No Party Now: Politics in the Civil War North. His biography of Abraham Lincoln is set to be published by The History Press later this year. Adam’s most recent …

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Bunker Hill: A City, A Seige, A Revolution

What was it that, in 1775, provoked a group of merchants, farmers, artisans and mariners in the American colonies to unite and take up arms against the British government in pursuit of liberty? Nathaniel Philbrick, author of  BUNKER HILL: A City, A Siege, A Revolution (already snapped up by Warner Bros.), discusses his bestselling book. You are the author of …

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Five Minutes With… Dr Angela McShane

Dr Angela McShane is Head of Renaissance and Early Modern Studies at the V&A/RCA. She specialises in Early Modern broadside ballads and is a project leader on Intoxicants and Early Modernity and the AHRC funded 100 Hit Songs of the 17th century .  She is also the editor of the V&A’s online journal.   What is an historian? Someone who is …

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CRISIS HUNTER: THE LAST FLIGHT OF JOE KENNEDY JR

Exactly 70 years on, a new book re-opens the events of August 1944 when US Navy pilot Joe Kennedy Jr, older brother of future US President John F. Kennedy, was killed over the Suffolk countryside in a top secret mission pioneering drone aircraft for the first time. In this new short book, Kennedy-era researcher Paul Elgood, who uncovered the long forgotten story of JFK’s visit to Birch Grove shortly before his 1963 assassination, recounts these wartime events and journeys to the site …

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ICONIC TEXTS: Dr Joanne Paul on ‘Utopia’ by Thomas More

  In the third installment of our new series of podcasts, Dr Joanne Paul explores a text written by one of the most prominent players of the Tudor court. Sir Thomas More’s Utopia – conceived while the author was on a diplomatic mission for Henry VIII – was first published in Latin in 1516 and translated into English in 1551 (years after More’s execution). …

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Taiwau Bozu: The bald geisha plague of 1901 by Michael Davies

The strange disease which has produced so much hilarity came, it is said, from Formosa; and a person may conclude that he has been attacked by it when he gets up in the morning and finds a hitherto hairy poll as bare as a billiard ball. No other symptoms make their appearance. It is bad enough for the Japanese gentlemen, …

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Five Minutes With… Melanie Backe-Hansen

Melanie Backe-Hansen is an historian, author and speaker. She specialises in social history of houses and streets and is the author of the acclaimed books ‘House Histories: The Secrets Behind Your Front Door’ and ‘Historic Streets and Squares: The Secrets on Your Doorstep’  What is an historian? This is rather a difficult question to answer, and I’m suddenly transported back into time (of …

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ICONIC TEXTS: Julia Nicholls on ‘The Communist Manifesto’ by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels

In the second instalment of our brand new series of podcasts, Julia Nicholls discusses one of the most controversial texts of the 19th and 20th centuries. Written by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels in late 1847 and published in 1848, The Communist Manifesto begins with the immortal line: ‘A spectre is haunting Europe – the spectre of communism’. Written in response to European …

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The White Princess and The Lost Prince

Tony Boullemier reviews Philippa Gregory’s novel The White Princess and compares her theory on the Princes in the Tower to that of David Baldwin in his work of research, The Lost Prince.  If you enjoyed The White Queen TV series, based on Philippa Gregory’s book, your next step should be to read her follow-up novel The White Princess – the …

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