Welcome to First Night History!

As my subtitle asks, how can we improve our future if we don’t understand the past. I have always been passionate about history partly, I suspect, because of my desire to find out why my parents were as they were, which was problematic! I had the good fortune to be able to look at certain family documents and ephemera and my curiosity increased.  Why did my great-grandmother die in her 40s?  Why did we come over with William the Conqueror? What kind of secret work did my Italian-speaking great-aunt do during WWII? Does madness run in the family or, as Cary Grant’s character says in Arsenic and Old Lace, ‘practically gallops’? Did any of my ancestors have a fondness for architecture? Were there any other actors in the past?

In my teens, I became obsessed by The Great War after poring over some of the letters written from the trenches by my great-uncle and grandfather. I went on to read all the usual suspects — Robert Graves’ Good-bye to All That, Siegfried Sassoon’s Memoirs of an Infantry Officer, Erich Maria Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front, the poetry of Wilfred Owen, Edward Thomas and many more.

Although my History teacher at school was far from inspiring, I developed a penchant for the Tudors and Elizabethans. As I grew older, while still fascinated by ‘Kings and Queens’ — a major factor in the teaching of History during the 1960s and ’70s — it was the story of the man or woman on the ‘Clapham Omnibus‘, rather than our ‘leaders’, that began to hold my attention. I wanted to know how my generation had been influenced by the circumstances of our forebears.

The posts you will find here are, predominantly, re-blogs. If you have any suggestions on areas of the past that you would like to see covered, please let me know by leaving a comment below.

My other blogs:

21 thoughts on “About

  1. You will be missed, Sarah. Is there no one who would take over your blogs? You have built something worthwhile here and there might be someone interested in helping you carry on until your health improves or someone who looks for a starter with readership he/she could mold to their needs. Think about it!
    All the best,

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s a great compliment, Iva, but I’m rather proprietorial about my blogs! There’s only one person I would trust and she doesn’t have the time. Having said that, it’s more likely that I’ll come back to FNH than the other two sooner rather than later as it’s mostly reblogs. Thank you again.


  2. Hi there!

    Your blog is great! I was wondering if you’d be interested in becoming a book reviewer for Pen and Sword Books? We have a wide range of topics and subject from Ancient History, through WWI and II, right up to Modern History.

    If this is something you think you might be interested in, please don’t hesitate to get in touch! digitalmarketing@pen-and-sword.co.uk


    Milly Wonford
    Digital Marketing Exec
    Pen and Sword Books

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I cannot believe I have only just got around to reading ‘All Quiet on the Western Front.’ As I had seen the movie a couple of times over the years I hadn’t bothered to read the book. My brother-in-law loaned it to me and I read it in a couple of days. I feel the same was as you about history, Sarah, WWI in particular.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I very much enjoyed your blog, First Night History. I am working on a history book-blog of my own, which can be seen at [one word] theoryofirony.com, then clicking on either the “sample chapter” or “blog” buttons at the top. My Rube Goldberg brain asks with an odd, well-caffeinated kind of logic: Why is there an inverse proportion between the size of the print and the importance of the message? Art. Literature. Science. Military. Religion. I call this eccentric thinking the Theory of Irony and if your busy schedule permits, give a read, leave a comment or create a link. In any event, best of luck with your own endeavors.

    P.S. It concerns Classical, Medieval and Modern eras.

    Liked by 1 person

        • Sarah:

          Forgive me for posting publicly, but I do not have a separate e-mail for you. Thank you very much for adding my entry, “Antikythera Mechanism” last month. It yielded several follow up queries.

          You accurately, but understandably, said it was frustrating that my website and blog – Theory of Irony- did not contain a way to “subscribe by e-mail” and did not contain a “blogroll.” Taking your advice to heart, I asked my gadget-guru to include both features, and he has. You will notice, your blog is the first entry into my blogroll.

          If you would consider reciprocating, the effort would be greatly appreciated. If circumstances do not permit, then again, thank you for your time.

          – Erik Von Norden

          Liked by 1 person

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