On the Spot: Jessie Childs

We ask 20 questions of leading historians on why their research matters, one book everyone should read and their views on the Tudors …


Because the period is strange and changeful and brimming with intellectual curiosity and wit. And I like the challenge of the handwriting.

What’s the most important lesson history has taught you?

That nostalgia is for individuals, not states.

Which history book has had the greatest influence on you?

Barbara Tuchman’s The Guns of August.

What book in your field should everyone read?

Macro: Global Crisis by Geoffrey Parker.

Micro: The Cheese and the Worms by Carlo Ginzburg.

Which person in history would you most like to have met?

My grandmother, Lara Chumakoff, who saw her father and brother arrested in revolutionary Moscow and, at 16, nursed civil-war casualties on the ship from Odessa.

Which historian has had the greatest influence on you?

My university tutor, Martin Ingram, a historian of sex and the weather and therefore as good a conversationalist as he is a historian.

Which moment in history would you most like to go back to?

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