Archive for the ‘History’ Category

Word of the day: pre-history

September 4th, 2023 by Roger Darlington

A friend recently told me that she was really interested in pre-history. I wondered how this term is defined and, of course, I found the explanation on Wikipedia: “Prehistory, also called pre-literary history, is the period of human history between the first known use of stone tools by hominins c. 3.3 million years ago and the […]

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A review of a book about the creation of Czechoslovakia at the end of the First World War

August 6th, 2023 by Roger Darlington

“Dreams Of A Great Small Nation” by Kevin J McNamara I have been visiting Prague regularly since 1988 and I have often crossed the Legion’s Bridge opposite the National Theatre, but it was only in 2023 when I visited a charity shop in Manchester that I found that there was a recent (2016) English-language work […]

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A review of the important book “Empireland” by Sathnam Sanghera

August 1st, 2023 by Roger Darlington

The history of Britain is not simply an account of what has happened in Britain but of Britain’s action’s outside its island borders. We know that when it comes to wars, especially when we were victors, as in the Napoleonic-era battles of Trafalgar and Waterloo and our decisive role in the two World Wars. But […]

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A review of the Len Deighton novel “Winter”

June 8th, 2023 by Roger Darlington

Sometimes a book sits on the shelf for such a long time before it is read. This novel was bought for me in 1988 but it took me until 2023 before I actually read it. The Winter of the title is not a season of the year but the name of a German family and […]

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A review of the book “Black And British” by David Olusoga

April 12th, 2023 by Roger Darlington

There are many way of presenting the history of a nation. One is through a series of great characters and, in the case of British history, this is typically kings and queens. Another is through a series of great events and, in the instance of British history, this could be characterised as ‘1066 and all […]

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A review of “TJ’s War”, a biography of a World War Two secret agent by his son Ian Maclean

March 15th, 2023 by Roger Darlington

In the Second World War, Scottish Highlander Thomas John Maclean – known to his comrades as TJ – almost accidentally found himself recruited as a secret agent in MI6 which resulted in immensely challenging operations in the United States, Norway, Italy and Germany. For such a young man (he was only 19 at the start […]

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A review of the 2018 Battle of Britain film “Hurricane”

December 7th, 2022 by Roger Darlington

What “Dark Blue World” in 2001 did for Czechoslovaks in the wartime Royal Air Force, “Hurricane” – which had different titles in Poland and the USA – in 2018 did for Polish pilots in the RAF, namely paid tribute to brave men who left their Nazi-controlled nations to fight for liberty but were subsequently erased […]

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A review of the important book of world history: “Guns, Germs And Steel” by Jared Diamond

October 8th, 2022 by Roger Darlington

Diamond is professor of geography at the University of California Los Angeles and he is a noted polymath who won a Pulitzer Prize for this outstanding work first published in 1997. I read a 20th anniversary edition with a new afterword and by then the book was an established classic. It is a hugely ambitious […]

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How strong is China’s claim to Taiwan? And what about Mongolia?

August 6th, 2022 by Roger Darlington

Taiwan has been settled for at least 25,000 years. Ancestors of Taiwanese indigenous peoples settled the island around 6,000 years ago. In the 17th century, large-scale Han Chinese immigration to western Taiwan began under a Dutch colony and continued under the Kingdom of Tungning. The island was annexed in 1683 by the Qing dynasty of […]

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A review of ”The Yugoslav Wars Of The 1990s” by Catherine Baker before I return to the Balkans

May 4th, 2022 by Roger Darlington

Baker is Lecturer in 20th Century History at the University of Hull and her book is one of a series called Studies In European History published by Macmillan Education. It is, therefore, aimed at history students and consequently it is brief (164 pages) and balanced and it is written in an academic style with a […]

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