It's Magnificent But Is It History?

Adam I.P. Smith casts a sceptical eye on the current craze for historical re-enactments

It is re-enacting season again. The country estates of England will be filled this year – as every year – with men and women re-staging historic battles and living for a weekend in an ‘authentic camp’: cooking, dressing and sometimes (in the most ambitious cases) even speaking in the style and manner of their chosen period. As part of its ‘Living History’ theme this summer, English Heritage is hosting dozens of re-enactments which promise, for example, an ‘action-packed weekend of epic drama at the world’s biggest multi-period historical festival’, at a huge August event at Kirby Hall in Northamptonshire.

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