I have just got up to date listening through all the episodes of the history pod cast. They have been great, and given me a lot of topics of conversation to talk about but being from New Zealand one thing has struck me.
Apart from a smattering of Scottish tones there seems to be no diversity of accents in the interviews. I understand that the interviews are based on books that are coming out in Britian and therefore the authors are likely to be British but the podcasts create a real oportunity to explore historical events from alternative experiences that is missing so far.
The interview that particularly caught my attention was a historian who expressed shock that Australia would withdraw their troops from active participation of the war in Europe during WW2. He outlined some of the reasons why this happened but in general he seemed to think this was not on.
From a South Pacific view point this withdrawl makes total sense. Churchill used us and was not concerned with NZ/AUST security or issues in two world wars.
Churchill's failed stratagies in WW1 lead to ANZAC massacres at Gallipoli which led to the creation of national identities in NZ and Australia and a need for those countries to control their own troops. Churchill's failure to protect Australia against Japan was part of a personal legacy of neglect and Australia's withdrawl should be seen in that light. I believe an interview with an Australian historian would have created a much deeper and more significant understanding of these issues.
I am not attempting to criticise his comments but I just believe that alternative viewpoints from outside England may provide some challanging and interesting discussion.
We had an English flatmate at one point and I started to tell her the history of New Zealand colonisation as told to me in the NZ school system and beyond. She was shocked. She hadn't heard any of it. She knew about Captain Cook and then picked up again at roughly WW1, if at all.
One book I loaned her was The New Zealand Wars by James Belich. It is a facinating history of the colonial wars in New Zealand. It details how the Maori managed to defeat the British over and over with the British claiming ficticious victories in order to keep the war going. (it's been made into a TV doco series)
The Maori would create fortified Pa (forts) with no strategic value almost overnight that were designed as killing fields. British troops were funneled into entrances that were opened out onto a killing ground covered by hidden, slit trenches. The troops would be massacred and the Maori would escape through tunnels leaving the Pa empty for the British to claim. They would then claim victory (they had after all taken the Pa) and inflate the Maori dead. But there were no dead, and the pa had no strategic value so there was no victory.
I just use this as an example of a story that seems out of the scope of British historians and may be of interest to your readers and listeners. I certainly would love to hear stories from Historians from the greater English speaking world on how they percieve their histories.