The reason for becoming an octogenarian blogger was to introduce my book, There was a Time, to English speaking people everywhere and it has a specific purpose; a personal crusade might be an apt description.
Having left school in 1949, with at least a grounding in British history and graduating in the subject 56 years later, I realised that history teaching in today’s schools has had to give ground, first to vocational and life skills teaching and then, under pressure, to a demand for a less British-centric syllabus. There ought to be an antidote for this erosion of our heritage; if there were not to be one then this country’s past would soon be forgotten and meaningless to future generations.
Two of my grandchildren, who sit their GCSE examinations this year, are currently studying the Vietnam War with emphasis in the 1968 ‘Tet’ Offensive, having previously dealt with Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela. They know practically nothing of Great Britain since the Union of England and Scotland in 1707 beyond a sketchy outline of one of the 20th century World Wars. Before that time, the most universal and popular subject has been set around Henry VIII, king of England only, and that primarily centred around his marital excesses. Oh yes; I believe that most children are also taught something of 1066 and all that.
This book, three years in the compilation, seeks to inform all those who would wish to know their own history and legacy better. To this end it has been couched, for the most part, in non-academic language in the hope, now a belief, that it would have an appeal to the general reader. In addition it is a pretty accurate historical account, taking in the entire three hundred years of British history from mainly geo-political and military perspectives. For two hundred of those years Great Britain was, remarkably, setting agendas and being central to most global events as the most influential Power in the world. This was surely a story worth telling?
As an unknown first time author, one sits well below the radar of the major publishers who guard themselves against intrusion. The best advice (or so it seemed), was to publicise it through social media. Well, nineteen blogs later, most of them with 1.5 – 2.5 thousand visitors, my publisher’s stock of copies remains annoyingly close to its previous level.
Perhaps we, that is I the blogger and you the bloggees, could indulge in a brief interaction. I have a dilemma – do I continue to describe a seriously useful book on which nobody wants to spend the price of 30 fags, or cut my losses and stop believing in the power of advertising? I can assure all that the 5-star reviews are entirely genuine and unsolicited. It is also a unique reference to the most important three centuries of Britain’s history.
I think that I shall give it a couple of weeks, talk over the remainder of World War I with my audience and look out for any comments which I shall take seriously if offered. If my store of books continues to gather dust on the shelf I shall probably take the advice of the many who counsel aspiring writers not to give up the day job, but take the remainder of my stock around the car-boot world and abandon the first two completed chapters of my next book. It was to be an account of my own contribution to the Cold War and its outcome through my stint as a national serviceman. In retrospect it was a period rich in humorous anecdotal material, albeit not quite so obvious at the time.
If you liked the postings you would definitely appreciate ‘There was a Time‘. With the uncertainties presented by Brexit it would be timely to have a concise summary of what this country once meant to the rest of the world. You may want to keep it for your offspring and perhaps your parents would appreciate it at a time when, to some, the greatest contribution of Gt. Britain to the quality of life on the planet was the advent of The Beatles.
It could become a family heirloom as the only such account ever published, assuming nobody else wants to give it a shot in the foreseeable future.