My work for War History Online has been taking me to some odd places. It turns out that the majority of the site’s readership aren’t interested in the same sort of history as me. They want facts about tanks, planes, and guns more than obscure incidents. They’re really into 20th-century history, which is fine, but I tend toward older things.
I’ve got no complaints about this. Being paid to read and write about history is a big win, regardless of what sort of history. But it does mean an adjustment in my intellectual intake. Less stuff on causes of crusades, more guides to fighter planes.
I won’t lie, my initial reaction was to grit my teeth. But as I’ve gone along, I’ve remembered something important – that anything can be fascinating if viewed in the right way. The history of fighter planes contains many moments of ingenuity and odd invention. 20th-century military history contains the strange final days of the Second World War, the ridiculous politics of the Korean War, and of course General Haig’s attempts to bring his drinks cabinet six inches closer to Berlin.
You can find the fascinating anywhere if you look hard enough. And in my work, I don’t have to look very hard.