Wednesday 3 February 2010

How to write history

Friday's lab was amongst our best, and certainly amongst our most useful. A very big thank you to Paul for coming and giving us his distilled wisdom. Here is your homework, with some handy reference volumes and some essential reading from fine historians.
Someone asked for a list of recommended reading. Here it is:
For style: The Elements of Style by William Strunk and E.B. White (Longman; widely available).
The Economist Style Guide (Profile Books; widely available). [I am reliably informed that the second-hand bookshop in the Students' Union has copies of this available – Ed.]
George Orwell's classic: Politics and the English Language (1946) in many compilations, or here

For exemplars of good writing by contemporary historians see:
Anything by David Starkey, Tom Holland, Mary Beard, Antony Beevor, AJP Taylor, EP Thompson.
The Inheritance of Rome by Chris Wickham (newly released in Penguin paperback)
A World by Itself, edited by Jonathan Clark (Heinemann)
Island Stories by Raphael Samuel (Verso)
And, of course, History Today!