Why history is really a ‘today’ thing

I’m always intrigued by the way people generally view history. To some  it’s a dead past, uninteresting. Others look on it as a trainspotting exercise in data-collection. Academics, on my experience, use the subject as a device for validating self-worth. Henry Ford, reputedly, insisted history was ‘bunk’. In a way he was right, because we… More Why history is really a ‘today’ thing

How I went into single combat on TV, intellectually speaking, with Antony Beevor

It’s a decade since I took on Anthony Beevor on TV, over his comments about Bernard Freyberg and his role in losing the 1941 Battle for Crete. I wasn’t able to get a face-to-face interview, but I was able to appear on Mike Hosking’s Sunday show in riposte to remarks Beevor made on the same show a week… More How I went into single combat on TV, intellectually speaking, with Antony Beevor

The First World War was about sea battles too – especially Jutland

It’s 99 years today since the great First World War clash of dreadnoughts off the coast of Jutland, the one and only time when the British Grand Fleet and the German High Seas Fleet came to blows. My great uncle was there, on board HMS Orion. So too were a number of New Zealanders, many… More The First World War was about sea battles too – especially Jutland

The tale of the Russian terrorist ship, and why you have to buy the book

Back in mid-February 1873, Auckland newspaper editor David Leckie revealed the dramatic story of a secret Russian cruiser whose crew had taken over a British warship in Auckland harbour, with the help of a ‘submarine pinnace’, and was holding the city to ransom. Their agent of terror was ‘deadly water gas’ invented by ‘the late General Todtlieben’, which had… More The tale of the Russian terrorist ship, and why you have to buy the book