Guardian talk through description of the Battle of the Somme. Although it does suggest at the end that ‘historians are divided’ about what the battle meant, the description of Haig persisting with the tactics of the first day (whatever that might mean) leaves it pretty clear what the author thinks. But actually my biggest criticism of this is that the French get so little part in the first half of the war. Mons was hardly the biggest battle of 1914, and to skip straight from the (misnamed) Race to the Sea to Verdun is pretty criminal I think. Slightly strange delivery by the actress involved as well: maybe it’s my connection, but it sounds a bit like a female Max Headroom. Anyway, back to picking the hazelnuts out of my beard.
Review of new publications in the field of First World War studies by Jay Winter in the TLS. My own book is one of those reviewed – but mostly this is a very interesting meditation on the differences between the way the war is remembered in France and in Britain – and is particularly informative for British historians who have got used to how friendly the study of the war is over here.
Articles written for the BBC History website's commemoration of the Somme now up here and here. They haven't necessarily given them the headlines I'd have liked, but then academic nuance doesn't always get people interested. The impression figures for the BBC pages are amazing, so I took this as a real opportunity to get some ideas into the public sphere. I'll be very interested to see what the results are (and I wonder how long it will be before I read a plagiarised essay written from these sites?). Great pictures, anyway…
Each year, the Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives at Kings College London hosts a lecture on a military history related theme. I’ve just noticed that the Centre has now posted most of the lectures back to 1988 online here. It’s a fascinating set of papers from leading British commentators on the military, including historians, generals, journalists and psychiatrists, and well worth a look.
Very useful (but read the disclaimer) historical cash converter at the National Archives Website. Works both ways, and it suggests roughly what you could have bought with it at the time.