Between fact and fiction

This article first appeared in the January 2016 issue of History Today. What does it mean to write history today? What claims can historians make about their work? These are just two of the questions that sprang to mind after listening to Niall Ferguson tussle with the Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Jane Smiley on Radio 4’s Start … Continue reading Between fact and fiction

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Safe spaces and comfort zones

This piece first appeared in the July 2015 issue of History Today. While I still think this makes some good points, on the whole it feels a good deal more ancien regime than I intended it to be, and fails to address some important aspects of the debate. Rachel Moss wrote a blog post in … Continue reading Safe spaces and comfort zones

Humanities without humanity

This article first appeared in the November 2015 issue of History Today. The British government’s vision for university funding – as outlined by Jo Johnson, minister for universities and science – seems both promising and alarming. That it seeks to elevate teaching to the same level of importance as research is to be welcomed. But to do … Continue reading Humanities without humanity

Young academics: the great betrayal

This piece first appeared in the September 2015 issue of History Today. I discussed the issues it raised with Catherine Fletcher in a related podcast which can be heard here. Catherine wrote a THE blog in response to my article and the disagreements it aroused, which can be read here. Supporters of the status quo … Continue reading Young academics: the great betrayal

The decline and fall of Twyford Abbey

This article first appeared in the November 2015 London Historians newsletter. Since I wrote it, the abbey has been sealed away behind high metal fencing, as if to confirm the purposeful neglect of its current owners.  I grew up in Kingsbury, North West London. I now live in Ealing. Between those two places lies a … Continue reading The decline and fall of Twyford Abbey

The future is ours to write: some thoughts on Britain after Brexit

Like most of my friends, I was heartbroken by the vote on Thursday. Heartbroken but not wholly surprised. Let's leave aside the dishonesty of the campaign. This was a vote that has been brewing since the crash of 2007/08 when across the developed world governments supported the financial and political elites who created the conditions … Continue reading The future is ours to write: some thoughts on Britain after Brexit

The What’s A Book Worth Campaign

As anyone who is following me on Twitter will likely know, I have just started a social media campaign called #WhatsABookWorth. I had the idea at a forum called Did Anybody Ask The Author?, run by author and life-coach John-Paul Flintoff. The event was a day-long brainstorming session involving some thirty authors and publishers which … Continue reading The What’s A Book Worth Campaign