The Historian

The magazine of the Historical Association

Published: 3rd July 2020

Special free sample edition

Welcome to this special sample edition of The Historian. We have gathered here just a few of the fascinating articles and features that have been published in the quarterly editions in recent months. Deciding what to select was not an easy task as there are a wide range of styles, topics and historical periods covered in the different editions – and that is why The Historian is such an interesting journal. Sometimes the editions are strongly themed and at other times loosely so; we have well-known academics writing for it and historians of many different backgrounds and expertise. In some of the editions that I have guest edited we’ve had articles by established historians who want to try out a few ideas around the edges of their usual field of writing, and The Historian allows them that intellectual freedom while also upholding high standards or rigorous debate and research.

The Historian is different from the other journals of the HA in that it is not there to help support a profession, it is simply a journal for those that love history and love reading about it. That means that its subscribers come from many walks of life – although many are also from academic institutions who want something meaty to get their intellect around, while still having time to relax and not always having to assess the article. Therefore, many of the articles can and do support wider subject knowledge for those who work in teaching, lecturing and heritage, as well as those studying history. The themed content is initiated by the editorial board, by the HA membership and by current affairs so it provides a varied amount of subject content.

In this special edition we have selected articles that could take some of the topics you might feel familiar with but where the authors have provided them with new levels of interpretation and analysis. Mick Crumplin is a noted surgeon and an historian; he has been an advisor to television programmes and films and is an expert on the history of medicine and warfare. In his article ‘Losing sight of the glory: five centuries of combat surgery’ he explores the relationship between medicine and conflict. He analyses how medical developments have increased survival rates of those injured in battle but also how wars have enabled and empowered medical professionals to initiate and develop new techniques and procedures, sometimes through risky methods and with questionable success rates.

The second feature article covers a very different theme from the past, yet one with some current-day resonance. ‘Black Death to global pandemic; London then and now’ is written by Christine Merie-Fox who is an expert on medieval London and is currently based in a Dutch university. In this article she explores some of the responses to the pandemic and how London survived and organised itself. I was particularly struck with the section that deals with the impact the pandemic had on children, who were often left as orphans. Fortunately, there is not a huge similarity with Britain today but I do wonder if it might have some relevance for other places in the world.

The final article in this pull-out edition is one from our 'Real Lives' series. This is a regular feature that explores the real life of someone not well known to history, and it is an opportunity for local history stories and often independent researchers to get some of their valuable work out into the public. The story presented here is that of Flora Sandes, a British nurse who ended up serving in the Serbian army during the First World War, thereby breaking more than one of the usual stereotypes of women at that time. Other regular features of The Historian include My Favourite History Place and In the News articles that again provide snippets of history to be brought to life and historical places to be explored.

As part of The Historian editorial board I believe that it is an incredible journal for supporting history and scholarship; and as an historian I think it is an incredible journal for allowing me to indulge my passion for learning. We hope that you enjoy it as well.

Paula Kitching
Member of The Historian Editorial Board

Attached files: