History in the Margins Has a Birthday–and a Giveaway

It’s hard to believe, but we’ve been hanging out here on the Margins for four (4!) years. It started as an experiment; it’s turned into a conversation. I’m honored that you read. I feel even more honored when you respond, whether it’s in the form of a comment here, an email, sharing a link to a post on Twitter, or talking back to your computer screen. Over the last four years you’ve expanded on the topic, asked questions, recommended books, given me ideas, and, on one occasion, administered a well deserved smack on the wrist.* Thank you.

Since it wouldn’t be a birthday party without presents, I have a handful of books to give away.** If you want your name to be put in the mid-sized mixing bowl, leave a comment or send me an e-mail before June 1. Tell me what kind of history you like to read, what period calls your name, who your historical hero is, or which of these books calls your name:

Cynthia Stokes Brown. Big History: From the Big Bang to the Present.

Richard Davenport-Hines. Voyagers of the Titanic: Passengers, Sailors, Shipbuilders, Aristocrats, and the Worlds They Came From.

Elizabeth de Waal. The Exile’s Return.

Darrin M. McMahon. Divine Fury: A History of Genius.

TWO COPIES:Nicola Phillips: The Profligate Son, or, A True Story of Family Conflict, Fashionable Vice, and Financial Ruin in Regency England.

At the risk of sounding like a presidential candidate,here’s to four more years!

*Scroll down to the comment by Wyatt. It’s worth reading. Wyatt, if you’re still reading, I want you to know I’ve used your comments as a touchstone ever since.

**Six books, six chances to win.,

Image courtesy of the Library of Congress


  1. Randy on May 12, 2015 at 12:57 pm

    Hello Pamela,
    Found your website a couple of weeks ago and have been reading from the beginning all of your interesting posts. This is the website I wish I could do!
    To me, history is more than the dates you had to remember from school. History is all around. The most interesting history to me is in the little things that we say, do, or use that have a unique story to tell, like the ball point pen.
    Historical fiction wise I’m drawn to the Napoleonic Wars, history wise a lot of War of 1812. The most interesting book I’ve read recently was Jason Roberts’ “A Sense of the World.”
    Great blog, good luck in the future.

    • pamela on May 12, 2015 at 3:48 pm

      Randy: This is the kind of comment that warms a writer’s heart. I’m adding A Sense of the World to the reading list and your name to the medium-sized mixing bowl for the book giving. And you’ll be pleased to know that the Battle of Waterloo is going to start popping up on the blog soon. Don’t touch that dial!

  2. Bart on May 13, 2015 at 1:56 pm

    You can always count me as a fan. As you know from my blog, I love swimming around the less obvious historical stuff. But recently I’ve been concentrating on European history 1870 to 1914. Great stuff.

    I wish you at least another 4 years times forty.

    • pamela on May 13, 2015 at 3:33 pm

      Bart: Our mutual admiration continues. Pamela

  3. Jill Meyer on May 13, 2015 at 3:00 pm

    Happy Birthday! I’m not applying for any of the books, but just want to say that “The Profligate Son” was one of the best history books I’ve read in the last couple of years. And the de Waal novel is excellent, too.

    • pamela on May 13, 2015 at 3:31 pm

      Jill: Thanks for the recommendations, and the birthday wishes.

  4. Jonathan on May 15, 2015 at 2:08 am

    I am a new reader and I am really enjoying your blog! Congratulations on four years!

    I am interested in many times and places, but I am especially keen on the Victorian period (especially their colonial wars and the history of the places they colonized or controlled), but I also enjoy reading about the Napoleonic Wars and WWI. More recently I have taken an interest in Egypt under the khedives. There doesn;t seem to be a lot out there on the subject of 19th century Egypt, especially before the British got involved.

    I am currently reading “Return of a King: The Battle for Afghanistan 1839-42” by William Dalrymple. It is an excellent book so far. It is a great combination of excellent writing and scholarship, with extra care taken to provide both sides of the story (he cites both British and Afghan sources). I highly recommend picking up a copy the next time you are wondering what to read!

    • pamela on May 16, 2015 at 7:05 pm

      Jonathan: Glad to have you here in the Margins. We obviously share some basic interests. My academic “home” is the British empire. And I loved Return of a King.

  5. Jane S Poole on May 15, 2015 at 3:58 pm

    My present focus is Victorian England, although any history interests me. Since my subject, Frances Rolleston, was born during the Regency, The Profligate Son sounds good to me.

    Love your blog!

    • pamela on May 16, 2015 at 7:07 pm

      If you haven’t already read it, you might want to try Victorian City.

      Thanks for reading.

  6. HJ on May 18, 2015 at 3:00 pm

    Happy birthday, and I wish your blog many more of them.

    The Profligate Son is the book which calls my name! The Regency and the long eighteenth century in the United Kingdom vie with the Romans for my favourite period in history. (When I clicked on your link to read Wyatt’s comment I came across a comment I left about what kind of history buff I am.) I think that I like these periods in part because of the historical novels which I read as a child, reinforced by good teaching at school, and further confirmed by yet more historical novels since. The Profligate Son looks like a real-life version of some of the novels I’ve read!

    • pamela on May 18, 2015 at 6:50 pm

      I think lots of us find our way to “our” historical periods through what we read as a child.

  7. Scottie on May 23, 2015 at 9:56 pm

    Happy Birthday and thanks for the outstanding photo of the children. I have one of my grandmother in similar dress, albeit in San Antonio Tx. Her uncle was in the Navy and invited to visit the Forbidden City. He and her aunt brought her back the entire outfit complete with umbrella and fan. It’s my fav. photo.

    • pamela on May 24, 2015 at 1:00 am

      It’s amazing what you can find on the Library of Congress print and photo gallery.

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