The illusions of revolution – how Karl Marx misled historians…and the world…

I spotted some protestors a while back in central Wellington. “Aha,” I said to myself, “the people’s revolution is happening a century too late.” But it wasn’t. It was a group of public servants wanting a pay rise. During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries the western world was riven by upheaval; the radical … More The illusions of revolution – how Karl Marx misled historians…and the world…

Learning the dark truth of the human condition

Human reality is a funny thing. Society, as a whole, behaves differently from individuals – yet is made up of them. Understanding people, individually and en masse, is the raison d’etre of the social sciences. And it strikes me that conceptual realities of human nature often emerge in front of our noses, often in microcosm. I … More Learning the dark truth of the human condition

‘Blowing’ Messines ridge – a century ago today

It’s a century, this June 7, since the British blew up Messines Ridge, part of the front line of the Ypres salient where they had been wedged against the Germans since the end of 1914. The blast involved most of the 1,307,800 pounds of ammonal, dynamite, gun cotton and blasting gelatine TNT, amatol and other explosives … More ‘Blowing’ Messines ridge – a century ago today

Why history is all about trends and vectors

The other month I had an interesting discussion about historians and history. The issue came up of enthusiasts who style themselves ‘historians’ – but whose qualifications are in a totally unrelated area. What was the difference between their stuff and what I’m doing? There is a huge difference, I explained. Anybody with an enthusiasm for … More Why history is all about trends and vectors

The battle of Jutland and the Royal Navy’s steampunk computers

It’s Jutland day again – 101 years since the great fleets of Britain and Germany clashed in the North Sea in what was expected to be a kind of second Trafalgar in which the German High Seas Fleet was supposed to be sunk. It wasn’t. The British won it strategically: the German fleet scuttled back … More The battle of Jutland and the Royal Navy’s steampunk computers

Latest news about ‘The New Zealand Experience at Gallipoli and the Western Front’

It’s always a bit nerve-racking when a book’s released: will it do well? How will it be reviewed? My book The New Zealand Experience at Gallipoli and the Western Front has been out a couple of weeks. It’s been published and is being sold old-school style – in print, through the brick-and-mortar physical channels of … More Latest news about ‘The New Zealand Experience at Gallipoli and the Western Front’