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  • Historians Predict the Past: An Academic Urban Legend? October 25, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary
    Historians Predict the Past: An Academic Urban Legend?

    Here is a nice passage from Tony Judt’s Postwar (2005), a wonderful book if you’ve not yet had a chance. Unlike memory, which confirms and reinforces itself, history contributes to the disenchantment of the world. Most of what it has to offer is discomforting, even disruptive – which is why it is not always politically […]

    What Makes a Good Historian? October 7, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite
    What Makes a Good Historian?

    What makes a good historian? Here are a few thoughts that have come up in reading and conversation. A good historian is someone who reads so much in his or her period that they can anticipate what this or that writer will write next. (The present blogger having published on several different periods recognizes this phenomenon well. […]

    History Journals and Their Limits May 28, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite
    History Journals and Their Limits

    There is something rather sinister about Mike Dash’s latest history post. The problem is not the subject, which is fascinating, women poisoning men in seventeenth-century Italy. Nor is the style off-kilter: it is, as always, accessible and fun. The problem is, quite simply, its length. MD’s new essay runs to almost fifteen thousand words: Beach finished the […]

    In Defence of the Dark Ages May 18, 2014

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Medieval
    In Defence of the Dark Ages

    The Dark Ages is a much despised term for the period from the collapse of the Roman Empire to the tailing off of Viking raids in the tenth and eleventh centuries and the arrival of a new stability in Europe. Most historians agree that the period deserves a name, in other words it stands out […]

    What Makes a Good Student Historian? August 25, 2012

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite
    What Makes a Good Student Historian?

    What makes a good historian? Beachcombing was wondering about this as part of his preparations for the new term, now just a couple of weeks away. There is, of course, a long shopping list. But when Beach stands in front of his students on the first day of class he is always looking for two […]

    Oft hung John Lee and an urban legend June 30, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Oft hung John Lee and an urban legend

                        Beachcombing has recently had a bit of a thing about human sacrifice and capital punishment. But it is. he promises, a passing phase and has now reached its climax with a reading of Mike Holgate and Ian David Waugh’s superb The Man They Could Not Hang: The True Story of […]