Are we obsessed with Hitler and Stalin? For a long time after completing my history degree I enjoyed boring people with useless pieces of history such as the fact Hitler’s dog was called Blondi and Stalin wore velvet boots. But who really cares?
This blog is dedicated to all those who understand and want to help others to understand that there is a lot more to developing a passion for history than gorging yourself on the Russian Revolution and the Second World War.
The Different History Blog is my personal journey to explore hidden but important history, the sort of history that is still making a difference to our lives.
When I studied history at Oxford in the late 70s, the way it was taught almost killed my interest in the subject for good. We were given a large grey paperback book and told that this was the entire syllabus for our three year course, beginning with a term studying the works of the Venerable Bede, all in Latin. I am sure my lack of achievement at Oxford was due to the fact that at eighteen I was pretty feckless. However, there was little encouragement given by the system to do innovative research, and the course was a huge disappointment. For many of us it was simply a passport to a well paid job in the City, or not so well paid job in the Civil Service in my case.
But now, as I approach retirement, I am going to make up for lost time and do some of the unusual and imaginative research that I didn’t do then. There is such a wonderful range of resources you can get for almost any topic you can imagine online, that there is really no excuse not to get on with my project.
So my first project is something really off the wall, crazy and possibly risky. It’s a topic that few people in the English-speaking world know much about…
It’s exploring the history and culture of Algeria. I’ve no idea what the outcome of my work will be. Maybe it will involve a visit to that country. Maybe it will just be a series or short blogs about what I am working on. It could even result in writing a book.
So I invite you to follow me on this blog as I go on this journey. I would be thrilled if you could give me feedback and ideas.