Napoleon Series Archive 2003

How We Grow
In Response To: Why Write History? ()

Howie,
your 'ramblings' are actually a very thought provoking series of thoughts on the nature of historical experience and how it is assembled and transmitted.
I think perhaps I had caught the wrong end of the stick when when you first referred to 'narrative'. To you it seems to be a soul-less perambulation through dates, kings or battles of the kind contained in old-fashioned text books. To me, 'narrative' suggests something else entirely, the voguish popular history style of Longitude, the Surgeon of Crowthorne or Stalingrad. That is a style of writing that has influenced what I've tried to do in my last two books. It is about following the journey of a man, an army, or indeed a battalion within it, and using some of the techniques of the novel or screenplay writer to give it a compelling arc from its starting point through to its conclusion. Of course, invention must be kept to the minimum in this formula, or you end up with something that has no integrity as history. But it is evident from the results on our battlefield - the bookstore - that this technique is successful in bringing in many thousands,sometimes hundreds of thousands of readers who might not otherwise select a work of history when buying as book.
Actually, if you chart what the average 16 year old, the older person with no geat knowledge of history and the specilist reader will go for, you end up with totally different styles of history. You have reached a point in your reading where an author who embraces doubt or who has a chapter of interpretation or historiography as long as the factual one is an author to be treasured. But the young reader or the non-specialist are still out there and, very often, thirsting for something that satisfies a less sophisticated palate.
all the best
Mark

Messages In This Thread

Bad History
Re: Bad History
Re: Bad History
Re: Bad History
Better History 101
Re: Better History 101
Re: Bad History
Re: Bad History
Re: Bad History
Re: Bad History
Re: Bad History
Re: Bad History
Re: Bad History
Bad History and Relativism
Re: The history book I would like to have written
Re: The history book I would like to have written
Re: The history book I would like to have written
Re: Bad History
Re: Bad History
Re: Bad History
Re: Bad History
Re: Bad History
Re: Bad History
Re: Rory Muir's "Salamanca".
Early Christmas
Re: Quotes
Re: Early Christmas
Re: Early Christmas
Limits of Narrative
Re: Limits of Narrative
Feu de Joie for Rory Muir
Why Write History?
How We Grow
Re: How We Grow
Re: How We Grow
Re: How We Grow
Right Angle
Re: Right Angle
Footnoting
Re: Right Angle
... Left Angle
Re: ... Left Angle
Re: ... Left Angle
Re: ... Left Angle
Re: ... Left Angle
Re: ... Left Angle
Re: ... Left Angle
Re: ... Left Angle
Re: ... Left Angle
Re: ... Left Angle
Re: ... Left Angle
Re: ... Left Angle
Re: ... Left Angle
Re: ... Left Angle
Re: ... Left Angle
Only 'quite intelligent'?
Re: Only 'quite intelligent'?
Re: ... Left Angle
Re: ... Left Angle
Audiences
Re: Audiences
Follow Ups or Spin Offs
Re: Follow Ups or Spin Offs
Re: Audiences
Re: Right Angle
Re: How We Grow
Reach for your Swords !
Re: Reach for your Swords !
"Full Monty" Footnotes!!
Re: "Full Monty" Footnotes!!
Re: "Full Monty" Footnotes!!
Long Footnotes
Re: Reach for your Swords !
Fair Points
When I was child, I spoke as a child
In defence of Chandler
Re: In defence of Chandler
Re: In defence of Chandler
Re: In defence of Chandler
Re: In defence of Chandler
Re: When I was child, I spoke as a child
Re: When I was child, I spoke as a child
Re: When I was child, I spoke as a child
Re: Limits of Narrative
The Pits
Re: Limits of Narrative
And Good, Durable History
Re: Bad History
Re: Bad History
Re: Bad History
Re: Bad History
Good Military History