Alex Deane has unearthed yet more bizarre tales that you certainly haven’t heard before in More Lessons from History, the second volume of his acclaimed series. Catch up with Alex here in his brief introduction.
How it all started...
Last year, I told some stories from history in a series of Twitter threads as a distraction for myself during the coronavirus lockdowns, under the hashtag #deanehistory. I had no idea that it was anything other than a lark, to begin with. But the tweets really took off – they were widely shared and commented upon, and soon people who love history as much as I do were proactively suggesting new stories, as well as adding many interesting digressions and responses. And so, Lessons from History was born!
History for everyone
This year, I have continued to tell stories online (my Twitter handle is @ajcdeane), forever pre-emptively making the point that I’m not an historian – I am that most English of things, an enthusiastic amateur. I have been encouraged by readers who say how much they have enjoyed the stories – with over 5 million views online – and especially by parents saying how enthusiastically their children have devoured the book, even when they ‘didn’t like history’ at school.
Good for all occasions
As the online heritage implies, these stories are short – a couple of pages each – and I cheerily admit to having produced some ‘loo books’ in this series. There’s a lot of derring-do in More Lessons from History, and more heroes and villains from the past. I cannot help but notice that this year’s release is well-timed for Christmas – especially as last year’s book made a popular stocking filler!
Extended and elaborated
As usual, freed from the strictures of the online format, the stories that reappear in More Lessons from History from Twitter have been extended and elaborated on, and many other stories appearing in it were not posted online.
My favourite story
More Lessons from History has a hundred entries and contains my favourite story in the series so far – the noble brothers separated across the battle lines at the Battle of Stamford Bridge, whose dispute could have changed British history if it had gone another way. This new volume also features what is definitely the rudest story yet (drawn from Australian politics). I hope that readers enjoy the book as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Out 15 November 2022
Catch up with Alex Deane on Biteback Chats Books podcast here
“Fabulously entertaining, Alex Deane’s wry, witty stories take hidden gems from our shared history and polish them until they shine. A must-read.”Iain Dale
“Ribald, riotous and sometimes surreal, Alex Deane’s dispatches from the forgotten corners of history bring heroes and villains roaring vividly and often poignantly back to life.”Gavin Esler
“More rollicking tales of fascinating figures who should not be lost to history – told with Alex Deane’s warm empathy, shrewd insight and glistening wit.”Lord Parkinson, former special adviser to Prime Minister Theresa May
“Alex Deane’s tongue-in-cheek tales of eccentricity and endeavour not only shed light on the obscurest parts of history; they teach us things we never knew about the present.”Suella Braverman, Home Secretary