Black Pudding

Jeremy Black, one of the most prolific historians of our time, explains the energy behind his perpetual-motion pen.

Plum pudding not parallelogram: I can see no particular structure or pattern that led towards my interest in history or an academic career, but rather an interaction of personality and circumstances amongst which a few points stand out. First, a love of reading which may have owed something to loneliness, but which definitely benefited from living within an easy walk of Edgware Public Library. I went there frequently, borrowed large numbers of books (one of which I dropped into the bath, as I still occasionally do: the reason why I have given up marking essays in the bath), and read my way through much of what was a very good local library. As a child there were the classics of the day: moving on from tales of ancient gods to the Sutcliffes, Treases, Hentys, as well as Unsteads and Sellmans; I found the latter’s battleplans and campaign maps of great interest, and have always retained this fascination. As a child it was fostered by playing Avalon-Hill war games: we had both ‘Stalingrad’ and the fairly-complex ‘1914’.

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