“One of the best new podcasts encompassing books and history. Insightful, stimulating – and fun.” Andrew Roberts, author of George III.
History is about debate – and conversations. The Aspects of History Podcast sees our editor, Oliver Webb-Carter, regularly interview bestselling historians and historical novelists about their latest books. We aim to entertain and engage, to give writers a platform to speak about their work and how the past is never too far away from the present, or future.
We are always mindful of pushing the author’s latest book to the fore during the podcast, providing a link and recommending the title to our followers. The host of the podcast, our editor Oliver Webb-Carter, is always happy to be directed by each author to chat about other subjects too.
We promote each podcast for at least a fortnight on Twitter and can pass any file onto the author and publisher to promote on their sites, to extend the audience of the broadcast and generate greater sales for each book.
Since 2021 we have hosted podcasts with a number of bestselling historians and historical novelists, including Jeremy Paxman, Tessa Dunlop, Andrew Roberts, Anne O’Brien, Sarah Gristwood, Michael Ridpath and Saul David.
Whereas previously our podcast was only open to writers who we host Author Platforms with, we are now happy to arrange podcasts will all authors and publishers. Our fee to produce and promote each podcast is just £99. We can also provide a discount for those publishers with a Publisher Platform .
We usually try to go live with each podcast in conjunction with the release of a new hardback or paperback, but we can be flexible. It understandably helps if the author is a seasoned speaker and has following to promote podcast too, but it’s not essential. We are also in the position to create a dedicated podcast platform for a publisher for a year, whereby we can arrange 12 podcasts, one a month, for a fee of £999.
Please do pass onto any authors or colleagues who you think will be interested in getting in touch and discussing things further.
For further inquiries please contact email@example.com
In a short time, the Aspects of History Podcast has established itself as one of the best history podcasts available: with fascinating guests, interesting subjects, and the time to investigate ideas thoroughly, I heartily recommend it! Roger Moorhouse
This is the podcast that gives historians their voices – unexpected, sometimes awkward, and all the more powerful for it. History too often gets minced into marketable morsels. Here, those of us who write it get to speak out. Sarah Gristwood
I so enjoyed appearing on Aspects of History. An excellent podcast with skilful and knowledgeable questions and I’ve encouraged other authors to take part. Andrew Lownie
Podcasts shine brightly in the armoury of a writer. Being a member of Aspects of History, dedicated to history and historical fiction, makes it all so simple in bringing a book to life. How enjoyable it was to talk about my new novel of the Paston family, speaking to readers on a personal level as if they were friends, as if talking directly to them about my enthusiasms and reasons for writing about this famous Norfolk family. Thank you to Aspects of History! Anne O’Brien
The two key components of a great podcast are depth and accessibility and Aspects of History excels in both. This is down to the host, Oliver Webb-Carter, who gives his guests the space to explore their ideas with intellectual rigour while keeping his audience engaged. It also explains why the Aspects of History podcast is essential listening for anyone interested in history. Peter Hughes
It’s so refreshing for an author to be able to discuss the detail of their book with someone who has actually read it. Aspects of History really is different. Ollie gives you the time – and the perspicacious questions – to dig deep into the subject in a way few other platforms can or do. Robert Lyman
Berlin with Barney White-Spunner
This year its’ the 750th birthday of Berlin, and to commemorate it historian Barney White-Spunner, author of a book on the city, joins to discuss its foundation, history throughout that period, which is tied up with German history, and wider European history. He discusses Berlin’s suffering during the 30 Years War, the Napoleonic occupation, the Nazis and the Cold War.
Coming up on Tuesday, our Film Club continues with Margin Call, the 2011 movie that deals with the Financial Crisis of 2008.
Greatest Tudor Myths with Steven Veerapen
It’s the Tudors this week and my guest Steven Veerapen gives his Top 10 Greatest Tudor Myths. Among them Mary Queen of Scots and marmalade, Warrior Queen Elizabeth I, Anne Boleyn’s physical deformity and plenty more.Steven is a historian and author and his novels feature Anthony Blanke, the son of Henry’s black trumpeter, John Blanke.
Don’t forget to listen on Tuesday for the Film Club which continues with the 2008 Financial Crash movie The Big Short.
Napoleon’s Invasion of Russia with Adam Zamoyski
This week’s guest is acclaimed historian Adam Zamoyski, biographer of Napoleon and the author of 1812: Napoleon’s Fatal March on Moscow He chats with our editor about the build up to the invasion, Napoleon and his opponent, Alexander I of Russia. The state of the French army on the advance and retreat, and the horrors the troops on both sides went through.
On Monday, in a bonus episode, Adam talks about Russia’s relationship with its neighbours, and the army both now and in 1812 and in the Soviet era.
The Hundred Years War with Gordon Corrigan, Part 1: Crécy
This week’s chat is the 1st of 3 on the Hundred Years War, and we start with the Battles of Sluys, and the big one, Crécy. Gordon Corrigan (The Major), the distinguished historian, talks through the early years of the war, with discussion on Joan of Arc – Heretic or witch? The Black Prince, Edward III and of course, the Longbow.Gordon’s book is out now, and is an amusing read that gets you up to speed on the rivalry between England and France. No mindless French bashing here, just a fun chat on the English fight for the French throne.
The Other Renaissance with Paul Strathern
Paul Strathern joins this week to talk about his latest book, The Other Renaissance, which looks at the advances made away from Italy. Paul talks about Martin Luther, Capernicus and Gutenberg, as well as Paracelsus, the eccentric ‘father of medicine’.
Aspects of History Film Club: Argo (2012) – Tuesday 21st March.
In our second Film Club, Director Tim Hewitt and Editor Oliver Webb-Carter discuss Ben Affleck’s Iranian Revolution set drama with an all star cast including Affleck, Alan Arkin, John Goodman and Bryan Cranston.
They discuss Most Unlikely Scene, Best Performance and Legacy, as well as veering off on a few tangents.
Next film in the club: The Big Short
Demetrius & The Successors of Alexander with James Romm
This week’s guest is James Romm, author of Demetrius: Sacker of Cities. James is an Ancient Historian and an expert in the period after the death of Alexander, when 5 families fought for control of his empire. Demetrius was one of them, and was a hugely attractive figure.
Ollie and James chat about whether Alexander was murdered, Pyrrhus of Epirus and what would the ancient world would have looked like had Alexander had survived. We’d all be speaking Greek, no doubt.
Coming up, the Film Club continues with Argo, directed by Ben Affleck. Please subscribe and rate and review if you can.
The Western Front with Anthony Seldon (Saturday 11th March)
This week’s guest is the author Anthony Seldon, author of a number of bestselling books on British Prime Ministers. His latest book is a departure, though, and is an account of his walk along the Western Front Way, tracing the trenches from Switzerland to the Belgian coast. Antony talks about why the Great War has that emotional pull, his inspiration in setting the walk up, and about British Prime Ministers whose sons were killed in the war, or who were affected by the conflict.
This episode makes a good companion piece to the episode with Gary Sheffield on the history of the First World War, although with Anthony the discussion is more about the emotions the war prompts.
There’s also short trailer at the end for another podcast from friend and author Giles Milton, so do listen to that.
The French & Indian War with John Sayles
My guest this week is the legendary filmmaker John Sayles, who has just written an epic novel, Jamie MacGillivray, set during the French & Indian War. We talk about the history, Native American tribes and Scotland at the time of the 1745 Jacobite Rebellion. The French & Indian War was part of the wider Seven Years War conflict, which Winston Churchill described as the first world war.
John’s films have a strong historical theme, so we discuss his career, and go on to talk about filmmaking today, and the new challenges posed by streaming services.
John’s Novel: Jamie MacGillivray: The Rengade’s Journey
Ian Mortimer on the Middle Ages
My guest this week is the bestselling author of the Medieval period Ian Mortimer. We get to grips with the issues of the era, including when it starts and ends; the introduction of time; slavery, serfdom and inequality; the Black Death; the Middle Ages on film, Edward III and Richard III, and plenty more.
Ian is a fascinating historian who makes you think about a period that is often dismissed by certain historians and Tarantino crime lords as simply being about torture and brutality, but the truth is far more interesting.
Ian’s Book: Medieval Horizons: Why the Middle Ages Matter
Aspects of History Film Club: Lincoln (2012)
In the first of a new series of bonus episodes, the Aspects of History Film Club discusses Lincoln, directed by Steven Spielberg with friend of the show Director Tim Hewitt. Released more than ten years ago, it won Daniel Day Lewis his third Oscar for Best Actor. With a host of acting talent including Sally Field, Tommy Lee Jones, Jared Harris and Gloria Reuben, the film covers the political machinations that led to the 13th Amendment, to the Constitution of the United States to abolish slavery.
We discuss Most Unlikely Scene, Best Performance and Legacy, as well as veering off on a few tangents involving Jared Harris, other Civil War films, The West Wing and a small homage to John Sayles’ Lone Star (1996).
Next film in the club: Argo (2012)
Nigel Biggar on Colonialism
This week’s guest is Nigel Biggar, the author of a new book, Colonialism: A Moral Reckoning, which deals with the British Empire. Nigel asks the question, is it all bad, or is there a more nuanced interpretation of around 300 years of history? We discuss slavery, famine, the Second World War and whether pride or shame are the right responses to the people and events of empire.
Nigel Biggar is Emeritus Regius Professor of Moral and Pastoral Theology at the University of Oxford and he gives a balanced view of empire and colonialism which makes for an interesting chat.
Tom Petch on Dudley Clarke & Origins of the SAS
My guest this week is the writer and filmmaker Tom Petch, author of Speed, Aggression, Surprise: The Untold Secret Origins of the SAS. It’s predominantly the story of Dudley Clarke, played by Dominic West in SAS Rogue Heroes. Clarke was the brains behind so many Special Forces units that sprung up in the War – necessity being the mother of invention. We talk about him, Eric Dorman Smith, T.E. Lawrence and the modern day SAS.
Tom is also a filmmaker, and directed The Patrol, a psychological drama about a platoon of British troops up against the Taliban, so we talk a bit about that and the West’s withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Gary Sheffield on the First World War
This week’s guest is the distinguished historian Gary Sheffield, author of Forgotten Victory: First World War Myths & Realities, and we explode some of those myths that have developed over the years. Thanks to the great TV show Blackadder, and it is great, a view developed that the generals, and in particular British generals, were callous upper class twits who drank fine wines as their .
Why did the war start, and who was to blame? Was it lions led by donkeys? What was Haig like as a general? All this and much more is answered.
Saul David on the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879
This week’s pod is a real treat – it’s the 144th anniversary of the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879 which began in January. My guest is Saul David, author of Zulu: The Heroism & Tragedy of the Zulu War of 1879. The arrogance of the British Empire resulted in a humiliating defeat at Isandlwana, before recovering with the morale boosting defence at Rorke’s Drift, made famous by Stanley Baker and Michael Caine in the 1964 movie, Zulu. Saul and I discuss the build up to the invasion, the Zulu nation itself and its ancient antecedents, the personalities involved, the Zulu victories before their eventual defeat and what the conflict means for empire and colonialism today.
Mark Turnbull on the Trial & Execution of Charles I
This week’s guest is friend of the show Mark Turnbull who returns to talk about the trial of King Charles I, which began on 20th January 1649. The trial was a sham, but Charles behaved admirably, and with great integrity and nobility. We talk about the events leading up to the trial, the Rump Parliament, New Model Army, Cromwell and the events of the trial itself. In part two, the execution, we talk about the signing of the death warrant, the delay as Charles waited for the chop, his last few moments, and its legacy today.
Gavin Mortimer on SAS Rogue Heroes
Gavin Mortimer joins me this week for a rollicking ride through the early days of the SAS with David Stirling, Paddy Mayne and Jock Lewes. We discuss the portrayals of Stirling and Mayne, what the show gets right, and what it gets wrong. Rogue Heroes stars Connor Swindells, Jack O’Connell and Alfie Allen.
Gavin is the author of David Stirling: The Phoney Major, a new book that examines both Stirling and Mayne closely, and one that has exploded the myth of David Stirling, so he’s well placed to discuss the series.
Joanna Hickson on the Politics of the Tudor Court Under Henry VII & Henry VIII
This week’s episode, the first of 2023, is with bestselling novelist Joanna Hickson discussing the subject of her new book The Queen’s Lady, Joan Guildford. Lady-in-Waiting at the courts of Henry VII & Henry VIII. We discuss Henry VII, Henvry VIII, royal childbirth, women at court and plenty more.
As we’ve seen recently, being a lady-in-waiting isn’t as easy as it sounds. When they aren’t navigating their way through race rows, they’re involved in the political machinations at court as reputations rise, and fall. In Joan Guildford, we saw one of the best, and Joanna describes her career.
Peter Hughes on History Today
In this week’s pod, the last of 2023, I welcome Peter Hughes, author of A History of Love & Hate in 21 Statues, back to the show to talk about his view on history, and society, today. He uses the stories of Confucius, the French Revolution, Frederick Douglass, the Statue of Athena at Palmyra and the death of the Queen to help frame his argument.
Top 10 Historical Movies with Director Tim Hewitt
In this month’s bonus episode, I welcome professional movie director Tim Hewitt onto the pod to discuss Top 10 Historical Movies. His 10 vs my 10. Who wins out? My list was discussed earlier here.
Tim’s Top 10
10 – The Passion of the Christ
9 – Richard III
8 – The Bounty
7 – Ran
6 – Barry Lyndon
5 – United 93
4 – The Way to the Stars
3 – La Grande Illusion
2 – Hero
1 – Dances with Wolves
Episode Forty Nine
Iain MacGregor on Stalingrad
This week’s guest is Iain MacGregor, author of The Lighthouse of Stalingrad, and we discuss the mother of all battles, Stalingrad. The epic struggle between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union saw savage fighting throughout the winter of 1942. It’s the 80th anniversary, so join us as we discuss the brutal fighting, Stalingrad and its hold on the Russian psyche, Putin’s politicisation of the battle, and the personalities and units that fought there.
Episode Forty Eight
Dr Tessa Dunlop on Philip, Elizabeth and the Monarchy
This week’s guest is friend of the show Dr Tessa Dunlop, talking about the subject of her new book, Elizabeth and Philip and their early life. This couple both served during the Second World War. and Philip in particular had a hugely disruptive upbringing. His mother, Princess Alice, lived under German occupation and indeed saved a family of jews from the Holocaust. His sisters married into senior members of the German aristocracy, two of whom were Nazis.
This is in stark contrast to the more modern version of the royals, with the recent Harry and Meghan Netflix documentary which we inevitably discuss. But the story here is of Philip, looking for stability, and Elizabeth, for the man of her dreams, who united to build a family that now represents modern Britain: the good bits as well as divorce, social media and very public disagreements.
Episode Forty Seven
Leanda de Lisle on Henrietta Maria: The Phoenix Queen.
My latest guest is Leanda de Lisle, author of Henrietta Maria: Conspirator, Warrior, Phoenix Queen. She was the wife of Charles I, the English king executed in 1649 after a bloody civil war. Poor old HM got the blame for many of Charles’ blunders, even though she married him when she was 15, and he 24.
She grew up in an abusive household – we’ll hear about her father, Henri IV’s parenting methods, and she was treated very badly when in England.
But, despite her husband’s killing, she rose again when her son, Charles II was restored, and her blood flows through Princes William and Harry.
Episode Forty Six
Lawrence Freedman on Politics & War
My guest this week is the distinguished historian Sir Lawrence Freedman. He is the author of a new book, Command: The Politics of Military Operations from Korea to Ukraine, and so we discuss the relationships and characters involved in conflicts post 1945. We talk Douglas MacArthur & Korea, the French in Indochina and Algeria, Kennedy and his generals, Ariel Sharon and his tyrannical tendencies, and the British approach. Lawrence takes a high level view, and so this is not a military tactics discussion, more how important personalities are, as opposed to political persuasion.
Episode Forty Five
Roger Moorhouse on the Nazi Soviet Pact
In August 1939 the Nazi and Soviet regimes signed their non-aggression pact and the world was stunned. Within days, Poland had been invaded by Germany and Russia, and there then began 22 months of an alliance between Hitler and Stalin. Roger Moorhouse, author of The Devils’ Alliance, joins me to discuss the negotiations, the reasoning behind the treaty, and the effects of it. We also discuss the lessons for today’s conflict in Ukraine.
Episode Forty Four
Saul David on the US Marines in WW2
Saul David is my guest this week. He’s returning to chat about his new book, Devil Dogs, which follows a US Marines company throughout their campaign in the Pacific theatre of WW2. They fought from Guadalcanal all the way to the shores of Japan, and so were first in, last out.
We also go on to talk about Saul’s podcast, Battleground Ukraine, and his thoughts on the current situation, and what options there are to end the conflict.
Episode Forty Three
Mark Urban on the Parachute Regiment in WW2
This week I have Mark Urban onto the pod. Newsnight presenter, historian, journalist and broadcaster, his new book Red Devils is just out. We chat about the Paras in WW2, and deal with booze and fighting, Operation Market Garden, the creation of the regiment and how he juggles writing and the TV work.
Episode Forty Two
Simon Sebag Montefiore on a Family History of the World
This week’s guest is the worldwide bestselling historian Simon Sebag Montefiore, and he’s joined me to discuss his new book, The World: A Family History. We look into the family and why that is a great lens to look at history, as well as focussing in on a few of the families featured, including Alexander the Great’s, the Prophet Mohammed’s family, the Romanov family and Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the last Shah of Iran. We also talk about recent developments in Iran and Ukraine and his musical playlist which is the soundtrack to his book. Links are below.
Episode Forty Three
Max Hastings on the Cuban Missile Crisis
This week’s pod has legendary historian Max Hastings who has written a new book, published its 60th anniversary, on the Cuban Missile Crisis. In October 1962, the world looked into the abyss of nuclear annihilation. We talk about those events, JFK and lunatic American generals, but also about its relevance today, and what lessons we can learn.
Episode Forty Two
Peter Stothard on Crassus, The First Tycoon.
This week’s pod is with the acclaimed classicist and historian, Peter Stothard. In his return to the show after our chat on The Ides of March, Peter discusses Marcus Licinius Crassus – the fabulously wealthy politician and commander who came a cropper at Carrhae up against the Persian Empire, after having defeated Spartacus.
Crass was a rival to Caesar and Pompey, and was of course played by Laurence Olivier in the Kubrick film. Peter’s new book is out, it’s super short, and I raced through it – it’s always entertaining listening to Peter, and he knows the subject so well, and speaks with real flair.
Episode Forty One
Ben Macintyre on Colditz, Gordievsky and Philby.
This week I’m joined by Ben Macintyre, author of Colditz: Prisoners of the Castle. We talk about a story that we think is familiar, but Ben has found stories that were lurking in plain sight – race, class and mental health are all themes running through his book. We also discuss the great spies Oleg Gordievsky and Kim Philby.
Steven Veerapen on Tudor Greatest Hits
This week I’m joined by Tudor historian and novelist Steven Veerapen. We talk about his novels, Of Blood Descended and The Queen’s Jewel and the Greatest Hits of the Tudors. Well known names such as Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, Lady Jane Grey, Elizabeth I & Mary Queen of Scots, but also lesser known names such as Anthony Blanke and Kit Marlowe.
Episode Thirty Nine
Robert Harris on Act of Oblivion
Robert Harris, the bestselling novelist and author of novels such as The Ghost, Munich and V2, joins me to chat about his latest, Act of Oblivion.
We’re in 1660, and Charles II has ascended to the throne. Two of his father’s killers, Puritans Whalley & Goffe, are pursued in an act of vengeance. The story goes from London, to mainland Europe to the as yet largely undiscovered America. It’s the Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid of the 17th century.
Episode Thirty Nine
Giles Milton on the Destruction of Smyrna
This week’s pod discusses the horrific events in Smyrna, Asia Minor, in 1922 – modern day Izmir in Turkey. On the centenary, Giles Milton and I discuss the horrific events that killed tens of thousands of Levantines living peacefully in the city, and caused a humanitarian disaster. If you don’t know about this, you should. Giles is a friend of the show, and author of Paradise Lost, all about the tragedy.
After that, I chat briefly with Paul Lay, author of Providence Lost (you see what they’re doing here?) about his Buckingham History Festival, which features many friends of the show and is on soon.
Episode Thirty Eight
Dr Tessa Dunlop on The Queen, Prince Philip and King Charles
On this bonus episode of the podcast, I chat with Dr Tessa Dunlop – royal historian and commentator, all about the Queen, her husband, and her son. We also chat about the media coverage, and what newspaper does King Charles read?
Episode Thirty Seven
Aspects of History pays tribute to Her Majesty The Queen.
Episode Thirty Six
Miranda Malins on Oliver Cromwell
If there is one man who can unite British monarchists and Irish nationalists, it is Oliver Cromwell, and so today I’m talking about this huge figure with the historian and novelist Miranda Malins, author of The Rebel Daughter, and The Puritan Princess, which involve Oliver’s daughters Bridget and Frances. We talk about how important women were in Cromwell’s life, and then we go on to talk about the man himself. His rise during the Civil War, His involvement in the trial and execution of Charles I, and his behaviour in Scotland, and most infamously Ireland. Many of you may already have a view of Oliver Cromwell, but Miranda makes the case that we need to step back and look at Cromwell dispassionately. History is nuance!
Episode Thirty Five
Helen Fry on Thomas Kendrick, Spymaster and the Man Who Saved MI6
This week’s episode is a chat with espionage author Helen Fry, about her new paperback Spymaster, the story of Thomas Kendrick. It’s an extraordinary story of one man’s efforts against the Gestapo, and his incredible achievement in saving thousands from the holocaust.
He was also station chief of MI6 in Austria, and as we’ll hear, came across two of the great British double agents of the last century, Kim Philby and George Blake. Not only that, but he was also involved in the rather murky episode when Rudolf Hess, then Hitler’s Deputy, flew to Scotland, apparently on his own, in an attempt to make peace overtures with the British government.
Episode Thirty Four
Andrew Roberts on the Cliveden Literary Festival
Andrew Roberts joins me to chat about his creation, the Cliveden Literary Festival. This is the foremost literary event of the year, and is on over the weekend of the 15th & 16th October. The festival involves three wonderful attractions for AoH listeners, history, writers and books. We chat about authors that will appear, talks at prior festivals, and Andrew’s favourite discussion so far. This chat took place before the horrific attack in upstate New York, and my thoughts are with Sir Salman and his family.
Episode Thirty Three
Barney White-Spunner on the Partition of India at 75
15th August 1947 saw Partition: independence for India and the creation of Pakistan. The author of Partition: The story of Indian independence and the creation of Pakistan in 1947, Barney White-Spunner, joined me to chat about the terrible events that led to approx. 1 million deaths and 15 million refugees.
We talk about the key players: Nehru, Jinnah, Gandhi, Patel, Mountbatten and Auchinleck, key moments and the horrific religiously motivated attacks that took place in August and September of that year.
Episode Thirty Two
Mark Ellis on Crime in WW2 and Top Ten Historical Movies
This week’s pod features Mark Ellis, bestselling crime novelist and creator of DCI Merlin. We chat about the reality of London life, when not all its population joined together against the common foe. His latest novel, Dead in the Water, features American criminals, Nazis and stolen art. The latest DCI Frank Merlin: Dead in the Water.
In the second part of the pod, I give my top 10 historical films. This list is mine, and so a little bit different to the usual lists you’ll see.
Episode Thirty One
Timothy Ashby on Elizabethan Secret Agents, Fédon’s Rebellion and Operation Condor
My chat this week is with Timothy Ashby, historian, novelist and author of Elizabethan Secret Agent: The Untold Story of William Ashby. Ashby was a spy working for Sir Francis Walsingham, spymaster for Queen Elizabeth I. Stationed in Edinburgh, he ran a number of operations to further the Queen’s cause against the Spanish. We also chat about the subject of his novel, Ranger, Fédon’s Rebellion in 1795, a slave rebellion on the island of Grenada against the British. Finally we talk about Operation Condor and the American efforts against regimes and democracies in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Max Hastings on Operation Pedestal, the mission to relieve Malta during WW2.
Max Hastings chats to friend of the show Saul David about the operation to relieve Malta in August 1942. The Axis powers had the island at their isolated and it was close to starvation. Churchill saw this as an opportunity for a heroic victory, in the mould of Dunkirk, and so ordered the Royal Navy to set sail from Gibraltar to relieve the island. Max discusses the heroism, and actions that were less heroic, in this fascinating discussion with veteran historian Saul David.
You can read Max’s book here: https://amzn.to/3OulxNx
Episode Twenty Nine
Konstantin Kisin on Free Speech in Comedy, life in the Soviet Union, and the West today.
Konstantin Kisin, comedian, podcaster, writer and author of An Immigrant’s Love Letter to the West, joins me to discuss his debut book. Konstantin was born in the Soviet Union, and both he and his family are well aware of what life was like outside the West. We discuss comedy today, how it’s under threat, even from the police. We also go on to talk about his family’s suffering at the hands of the Soviet system.
Where are we now as a society? We may think we’re free, but are we really when we see countless examples of people who lose their jobs and reputations needlessly. Konstantin is one person who has seen life in East and West, and he knows which he prefers.
You can get Konstantin’s book here: An Immigrant’s Love Letter to the West.
Episode Twenty Eight
Alex Gerlis on Espionage during the Second World War
Alex Gerlis joins me to discuss spying during the war, and, more importantly (!) football of the period. Alex supports Grimsby Town, and I support Southampton, but which team would the Nazis have taken an interest in? We also discuss Frank Foley, the man who saved thousands of Jews, and Klaus Barbie, the Nazi murderer based in France. Finally, Alex chats about his influences, and the man he has been compared to, John Le Carré.
Alex is the author of Agent in Berlin and his latest, Agent in Peril.
Episode Twenty Seven
Mark Turnbull on the English Civil War
This week’s pod is on the brutal English Civil War, or War of the Three Kingdoms. Historian and novelist Mark Turnbull joins me to discuss. Mark is the author of The Rebellion Series, a trilogy of novels set during the Civil War, We chat Charles I, Henrietta Maria, Prince Rupert, Cromwell and the Earl of Essex, as well as Edgehill and Naseby. Was Charles I really a tyrant? Were the Levellers the Corbynistas of their day? Am I a Roundhead or Cavalier?
Mark’s Trilogy: The Rebellion Series: The King’s Spy, The King’s Captain, The King’s Cavalier.
Episode Twenty Six
Gretchen Friemann on The Irish Revolution and the Anglo-Irish Treaty
“The Freedom to Achieve Freedom”. Michael Collins. This week’s episode is with journalist and author Gretchen Friemann discussing the Irish Revloution. We discuss the whole shebang, from the Act of Union in 1801, through the Home Rule crisis, Curragh Mutiny, Easter Rising, War of Independence, the Anglo-Irish Treaty and the Irish Civil War.
Gretchen’s Book: The Treaty: The Gripping Story of the Negotiations that brought about Irish Independence and led to the Civil War
Episode Twenty Five
Robert Lyman interviews Antony Beevor on the Russian Revolution and Civil War
In this week’s episode, Antony Beevor discusses the subject of his latest book, Russia: Revolution & Civil War 1917-1921. Antony is interviewed by a hot new signing for Aspects of History, Robert Lyman, author of A War of Empires and my guest in earlier episodes.
The two historians discuss the brutality of the conflicts, and how Russia deposed the Tsar and transformed into the USSR under the leadership of a small number of ruthless leaders, Lenin among them.
Episode Twenty Four
Conn Iggulden on Ancient Greece, Pericles and Historical Fiction
I chat with one of the most successful authors writing historical fiction, Conn Iggulden. He’s written series on Julius Caesar and Genghis Khan, and more recently on Ancient Greece. Conn and I discuss his latest novel Lion, the Greeks and the Persians, Pericles and the beginnings of the Athenian Empire and Conn’s approach to historical fiction.
Episode Twenty Three
Damien Lewis on Josephine Baker, the Flame of Resistance
This week’s episode is with bestselling author Damien Lewis, talking about the wonderful Josephine Baker, spy during the Second World War, but also an entertainer loved by so many in Europe. It’s a story well told by Damien, and Josephine’s awe-inspiring antics led her to be entered into the French Pantheon in November 2021.
Flame of Resistance: American Beauty. French Hero. British Spy
Episode Twenty Two
Gavin Mortimer on David Stirling, the Phoney Major
For those interested in the Second World War, and in particular the SAS and its so called founder, David Stirling, you’re in for a treat. If you’re not aware, then this is the time to start because once you’ve heard my guest Gavin Mortimer dismantle the fairy tale that’s currently out there, you’ll sound like an absolute expert on the subject. As you heard at the top, David Stirling was not the founder, it was his brother Bill, and Paddy Mayne was the real star of the SAS. Gavin’s book The Phoney Major is out now, so do read this fantastic tale.
Episode Twenty One
Jubilee Special: Tessa Dunlop on the Queen in the Second World War
A special episode to celebrate the Queen’s jubilee. I’m very fortunate to have a friend of the show return, Tessa Dunlop. Now Tessa is hugely busy, and so she kindly agreed to return to discuss the Queen’s service in the Army during the Second World War.
Tessa will be discussing new material in her paperback, Army Girls: The secrets and stories of military service from the final few women who fought in World War II.
Giles Milton on Berlin after the Second World War
In May 1945 Soviet troops had captured Berlin, and they proceeded to loot the city, and carry out the most horrific abuse of German women. American, British and French troops arrived two months later, and found a desperate and starving population.
Giles Milton has written a brilliant new book, Checkmate in Berlin, about the German capital in the aftermath of the Second World War. In Part One, we discuss that abuse, de-nazification, the Allies and the Soviets in the city, and Churchill’s defining Iron Curtain speech.
Douglas Murray on the War on the West
Douglas Murray is a bestselling writer and broadcaster who has written a new book, The War on the West. In it he argues that those in the West are fortunate, that the West’s history is not all shameful, and that we need face up to those that are seeking to traduce the education system with their strange new ideas. We must remember the past is a foreign country, they do things differently there. We chat Winston Churchill, racist gardens, Critical Race Theory, suggested changes to education and right at the start, the Bloody Sunday Inquiry.
You can get The War on the West here: https://amzn.to/3vuVMGE
Gordon Corrigan on Tipping Points of History: The Peloponnesian War, the American Civil War and Stalingrad
I chat with Gordon Corrigan, acclaimed historian and author of Tipping Points of History: The Battle of Aegospotami. We discuss the clash between Athens and Sparta in the 5th century BC, and what the world would be like had the Athenians won. We then discuss the American Civil War and what would have happened if the Battle of Atlanta had gone the Confederacy’s way. Would we have two United States of America? The next part is about where we would be had the Germans won their titanic struggle at Stalingrad.
You can get Tipping Points of History here: https://amzn.to/3DEgHts
Nicholas Guyatt on the War of 1812 and the Massacre at Dartmoor Prison
The War of 1812: a memorable event in American history when the might of the British Empire was held at bay. But a fascinating part of the tale was the imprisonment of American POWs in Dartmoor Prison. I chat with Nicholas Guyatt, author of The Hated Cage: An American Tragedy in Britain’s Most Terrifying Prison and in Part One, he sets the scene of the war, describe the life of Privateers, and the prisoners of Dartmoor.
And yes, The Count of Monte Cristo was not published until 1844! If you haven’t read it, do!
You can get a copy of The Hated Cage here: https://amzn.to/3DEgHts
Mandy Robotham on Occupied Norway in WW2, the Lebensborn and the Shetland Bus.
This week’s episode is a chat with bestselling historical fiction author Mandy Robothom, about her new novel The Resistance Girl, which is out 31st March. We discuss the themes of the story, including Nazis with unpleasant aromas, the reprisals against innocent civilians, and the heroism of the resistors to the Nazi jackboot.
You can get a copy of The Resistance Girl here: https://amzn.to/3iJV15a
Peter Stothard on the Assassination of Julius Caesar, and the Ides of March.
The Ides of March is on the 15th March, the anniversary of Caesar’s assassination. Peter Stothard is the author of The Last Assassin: The Hunt for the Killers of Julius Caesar. It’s a brilliant account of the assassination, and the aftermath, featuring Mark Antony, Brutus, Cassius, Octavian and one Cassius Parmensis.
In addition to this, we chat about what it can teach us with Putin, and whether assassination is really what we want. Consequences…In Part Two, we go on to talk about RFK, Abraham Lincoln, Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair.
You can get hold of Peter’s book here: https://amzn.to/3t5JnIa
David O. Stewart on George Washington, Slavery, his early career and Washington the Politician.
22nd February saw the anniversary of George Washington’s birth, 290 years ago in 1732. I discuss with distinguished historian David O. Stewart his early career, familial relationships and the vexed issue of slavery. Washington owned slaves, and for the first part of his life was comfortable with it, but that view changed once he commanded African American troops during the War of Independence. In the second part we discuss Washington as the politician – his relationship with John Adams, Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson.
You can get hold of David’s book here: https://amzn.to/3pI8LBJ
Episode Thirteen – Parts One & Two
Keith Lowe on the Statue Wars, Hamburg’s bombing of 1943 and the impact of WW2 on Europe
Keith Lowe is an acclaimed historian and author of Prisoners of History, addressing 25 monuments to the Second World War. We discuss holocaust memorials, Soviet statues and the whole debate around what these structures mean for us.
In part two we chat about the bombing of Hamburg in 1943 and the state of Europe in the immediate aftermath of the war.
You can get hold of Keith’s book here: https://amzn.to/3uQwqTF
Episode Twelve – Parts One & Two
Michael Ridpath on Munich 1938, Neville Chamberlain, Communist spies of the 1930s, Iceland and Historical Fiction
Michael Ridpath is a bestselling novelist, and author of Traitor’s Gate, a novel based around the plot against Hitler in 1938, and Neville Chamberlain’s visit to Munich. Traitor’s Gate is our February fiction book of the month.
There is a new Netflix film out so we sat down to discuss the history behind it, and his writing. In Part Two we discuss spying in the 1930s, Icelandic murder mysteries and financial crime.
You can get hold of Michael’s book here: https://amzn.to/3KSj9Qa
Saul David on the SBS in the Second World War, The Charge of the Light Brigade, The Zulu War and Britain joining World War One.
Saul David has written a new book on the SBS. It’s an authorised history, and he was granted unique access to the secretive unit. We discuss their inception, rivalry with the SAS, operations in Europe and the Far East, and other units inspired by them.
We also discuss his new venture the Military History Club and other events in history he’s written about, including the Charge of the Light Brigade, the Zulu War and World War One. We even get to chat about Time Commanders, a show in the 2000s that Saul was a consultant on.
You can get hold of Saul’s book here: https://amzn.to/3oITHTZ
Jeremy Paxman on the History of Coal Mining, the Miner’s Strike & Napoleon
“Scargill was right!”
The legendary presenter of Newsnight and University Challenge talks with me about how the Coal Mining Industry built Britain, the 1984/85 Miners Strike and Arthur Scargill, as well as discussing Napoleon and the two Central American countries of Belize and El Salvador.
You can get hold of Jeremy’s book here: https://amzn.to/3oITHTZ
Episode Nine – Parts One & Two
Andrew Lownie on the Traitor King
Joining me on the podcast is Andrew Lownie, the author of Traitor King: The Scandalous Exile of the Duke & Duchess of Windsor. We talk Nazis, murder, treachery and Andrew’s campaign against the government for access to archives.
You can get hold of Andrew’s book here: https://amzn.to/3oITHTZ
Peter Hughes on the Statue Wars
Peter Hughes is a philospher and psychologist, and has just written his first history book, A History of Love and Hate in 21 Statues. We discuss Colston, Mandela, Douglass and why we all need to find common ground, if we are to continue living happily together.
You can buy Peter’s book here: https://amzn.to/3y09scj
Anne O’Brien discusses the Wars of the Roses and the genre of Historical Fiction.
Anne O’Brien is the Sunday Times bestselling author of The Royal Game and The Queen’s Rival, novels set during the Wars of the Roses. Anne always places strong women firmly at the centre of her stories, whether good or bad. She also has a few words to say to those historians that dismiss historical fiction as just ‘making things up’.
You can buy Anne’s book here: https://amzn.to/3FWjopU
Episode Six – Part One & Two
Robert Lyman, author of A War of Empires, discusses the Far East campaign and the Indian Army in WW2.
Robert Lyman, the acclaimed historian joined us to discuss his new book, War of Empires: Japan, India, Burma & Britain 1941-45. Robert is the author of one of our authorities on the war in the Far East, and has written an acclaimed biography of Bill Slim. We discuss the Indian Army, and how by the end of the war it consisted over over 2 million volunteers, making it a key part of a new independent country. We also discussed the Chinese army and how important it was to the war effort in the region.
In Part Two Robert explains how the Indian Army learnt to fight the Japanese, the sheer waste of life by the Japanese leadership and finally he discusses Bill Slim – was he the greatest British general ever?
You can buy Robert’s book here: https://amzn.to/3nec7eP
Episode Five – Parts One & Two
Tessa Dunlop, author of Army Girls, discuss female veterans of WW2, sexism, the ATS and deaths in combat.
Dr Tessa Dunlop, the bestselling historian joined us to discuss her new book, Army Girls. Tessa is renowned for her impressive oral histories, and she spent one national crisis talking to veterans of WW2 as they recounted their experience of another national crisis. Part Two is now out, and she discusses the challenges faced by women among male troops.
You can buy Tessa’s Book, Army Girls here: https://amzn.to/3mkekox
Episode Four – Parts One & Two
Norman Davies, author of George II: Not Just a British Monarch, discusses slavery
We had the opportunity to discuss with legendary historian Norman Davies, his new book George II: Not Just a British Monarch. In the wake of the previous episode with Andrew Roberts on George III, what about the family that made him? Well, they’re pretty dysfunctional. Norman was also helpful in ensuring I was using the correct language and not looking at the king through a British lens.
In Part Two, Professor Davies continues to tolerate our editor, when discussing George II in his place as a European monarch. We also discuss the King of Slavery, as Norman has recently named him. You can buy Norman’s Book, George II here: https://amzn.to/3aZ60E7
Andrew Roberts, author of George III: The Life & Reign of Britain’s Most Misunderstood Monarch, discusses the American War of Independence and mental illness in the 18th century.
In this week’s Aspects of History podcast, we have Andrew Roberts, acclaimed historian and author of Churchill: Walking with Destiny, Napoleon the Great, Napoleon & Wellington and Masters and Commanders. He discusses his new book, George III, who reigned during tumultuous episodes in world history, including the Seven Years War, the American War of Independence, the French Revolution and the Napoleonic wars, and all the while dealing with a severe mental illness. I hope you enjoy our chat, and please do subscribe and give us a great rating if you do.
Episode Two – Parts One & Two
Sarah Gristwood, author of Tudors in Love: The Courtly Code Behind the Last Medieval Dynasty, discusses the Tudors and their seduction practices in a two part episode.
Sarah’s book is hugely entertaining, describing the romantic techniques, epitomised by the courtly code, employed by the Tudors. In part 1 in which Sarah explains what courtly love was, and then we move on to Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn.
In part 2, Sarah goes on to talk about Anne of Cleves, Edward VI, how the code failed Lady Jane Grey and those favourites of Queen Elizabeth I. The courtly code reached its zenith during Elizabeth’s reign, but as we know, unlike her father she never married.
If you enjoy the podcast, please subscribe and give us a great rating. Up next time, Andrew Roberts talks about George III, king during the American Revolution, and famous for his depiction in The Madness of King George.
Episode One – Parts One & Two
Roger Moorhouse, author of First to Fight: The Polish War 1939, discusses the invasion of Poland in 1939, in a two part episode.
Roger’s book is very important – he explodes myths and uncovers staggering brutality by the 2 totalitarian powers. This podcast is part 1 in which Roger sets the scene, describing the first few days and the Nazi advance.
In Part Two of the podcast, Roger goes on to talk about the myth of cavalry against tanks, what the Poles went through, with numerous atrocities committed by the Nazis and Soviets, and why we in the United Kingdom are not as familiar with the Polish experience as we should be.