Return to the Interactive Past: the interplay of video games and histories

Return to the Interactive Past offers a fascinating introduction to some of the key topics surrounding the intersection of video games / interactive media and heritage. This book, a follow-on to the 2017 publication, The Interactive Past, explores the many ways in which games and heritage interact, including the representation…

Digging Deep: a journey into Southeast Asia’s past

Professor Charles Higham will be a familiar figure to CWA readers. Not only does he write a regular column for the magazine, but he is also a world authority on the archaeology of Southeast Asia. When COVID shut down international travel – and with it any hope of further fieldwork…

Blood and Ruins: the great imperial war, 1931-1945

While many historians drill deeper into their sources and produce more detailed and specialist works, it is excellent to find one of Britain’s best Second World War historians doing the opposite. Blood and Ruins is a vast and encyclopaedic view of the war in its broadest possible context. It is…

Between Two Hells: the Irish Civil War

I am always perplexed by political commentators who suggest that the possibility of Northern Ireland being reunited with Éire or Scotland becoming independent as a result of Brexit puts us in ‘uncharted waters’, and that the Union has never faced such challenges. That is nonsense: we have been here before,…

The Blind Strategist: John Boyd and the American Art of War

In his introduction to this exceptionally worthwhile volume, Stephen Robinson describes how, during the Gulf War, General Tommy Franks, a true believer in what had become the US Army’s dominant doctrine of ‘manoeuvre warfare’, formulated what historian Thomas Ricks referred to as ‘perhaps the worst war plan in American history’.…

London Clay: journeys in the deep city

London Clay is an impressionistic survey of London and its history, filtered through the prism of the underlying geological strata. It is at once personal and overarching, meandering from pre-Roman to Victorian, south London to north, via what Chivers (a poet by trade) calls ‘eight documentary essays’. Each essay tackles…

Early Medieval Britain c.500-1000

Is there room for another general history of early medieval Britain? The answer is ‘yes, of course’ when it is as fresh and interesting as this one. Its USP is that it examines the history of the different peoples of early medieval Britain alongside one another in both thematic and…

Cornwall’s Military Heritage

Cornwall is a county with a long military history, and reminders of its past can be found scattered across the landscape, ranging from Iron Age hillforts to Cold War control centres. Surrounded by sea on three sides, Cornwall has been building fortifications to resist foreign invaders for centuries, with castles…

Manuscripts in the Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms: cultures and connections

Associated with the 2019 British Library exhibition Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms: art, word, war, these 14 short essays demonstrate the specialised scholarship that lies behind the choice and description of items in such an exhibition. The contents of each closely focused chapter range chronologically from the Durham A II 10 Gospel Book…

Culduthel: an Iron Age craftworking centre in north-east Scotland

The rapid suburban expansion of Inverness in recent decades has led to a patchwork of prehistoric sites being discovered through developer-funded excavations. In 2005, however, Headland Archaeology hit the motherlode at Culduthel. They had discovered a multi-period prehistoric site whose highlight was an extraordinary industrial and craftworking hub, active between…

The Middle Ages: a graphic history

Spanning roughly 1,100 years, this lively book is billed as ‘a romp across continents and kingdoms’, and it does not disappoint. Historian Eleanor Janega unpicks complex topics with verve, irreverent humour, and a scattering of pop-culture references, all accompanied by Neil Max Emmanuel’s striking and sharply observed illustrations. From the…

The Eurasian Steppe: People, Movement, ideas

The Eurasian Steppe: People, Movement, Ideas is an ambitious scholarly volume tracing the origins of the European identity in the Eurasian steppe, the vast expanse of land that stretches from Hungary through to the Ural Mountains and China. Covering a period of 5,000 years, this is a bold account that…

The First Ghosts: Most Ancient of Legacies

Ancient Mesopotamian literature, written in cuneiform from around 3000 BC, is haunted by omens and ghosts. Most of the sources on ghosts come from the 1st millennium BC, written in Akkadian, but some texts and ideas hark back to even older texts written in Sumerian. Irving Finkel was first drawn…

Homer: The Very Idea

Some time in the 8th century BC, with the Greek alphabet just decades old, two monumental poems, the Iliad and Odyssey, were committed to writing and so became the first great works of Western literature. We call their author Homer, but – even in antiquity – there was disagreement over…

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