March 2014

Foyle’s War

March 31, 2014

History buff-ery can lead you to unexpected places. Recently it’s led My Own True Love and I to our living room in front of the television, where we are totally absorbed in the BBC television series Foyle’s War.* It’s a police procedural set during World War II in the town of Hastings** on the southeast […]

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How Paris Became Paris

March 21, 2014

In How Paris Became Paris: The Invention of the Modern City, historian Joan DeJean (The Age of Comfort) argues that the real transformation occurred two centuries earlier, when Henri IV set out to rebuild a city that had been ravaged by Catholic and Protestant alike during the thirty-six years of the Wars of Religion. In […]

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The Black Hole of Calcutta

March 18, 2014

In mid-eighteenth century India, power was up for grabs. The Mughal dynasty was in decay. Smaller regional powers flourished. European trading companies, which held their trading privileges at the discretion of Indian rulers, were constantly looking for a way to get an edge. The British and French East India Companies, in particular, maintained private armies […]

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Blood Royal: A Medieval CSI Team In Action

March 15, 2014

In Blood Royal: A True Tale of Crime and Detection in Medieval Paris, medievalist Eric Jager returns to the world of medieval true crime stories that he popularized in The Last Duel. On a cold night in November, 1407, a band of masked men assassinated Louis of Orleans, the powerful and unpopular brother of the […]

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Introducing Flat Arthur, aka His Grace the Duke of Wellington

March 12, 2014

Several weeks ago, fellow Historical Novel Society member Cora Lee shared an idea that she’d been having fun with for a few months and asked if any of us would like to play along. She took the idea of “Flat Stanley” and gave it a historical twist, creating “Flat Arthur”– a two dimensional version of […]

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Dear Abigail

March 7, 2014

A million years ago, when I had first finished my doctoral dissertation and was tiptoeing toward writing about history for an non-academic audience, I headed off to a week-long writing class in Iowa. Along with the rest of my gear, I packed David McCullough’s then newly released John Adams, on the assumption that it would […]

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Re-Run: Cowboys and Indians, North African Style

March 4, 2014

Unlikely though it seems, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the French Foreign Legion over the last week. I bet most of you have a few stock images of the Foreign Legion in your heads: men fleeing from their past into the desert and anonymity, absinthe, burning sands and blazing sun, those funny […]

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