Ask a Historian: 50 Surprising Answers To Things You Always Wanted To Know

The cover of Greg's book Ask A Historian is in gold and blue with large white lettering

ask a historian: Soon to be translated into 6 languages

What’s the book about?

Why is Italy called Italy? How old is curry? Which people from history would best pull off a casino heist? Who was the richest person of all time? (click to read) When was the first Monday? What were history’s weirdest medical procedures that actually worked? How much horse manure was splattered on the streets of Tudor London? How fast was the medieval Chinese postal system? What did the Flintstones get right about the Stone Age? Who gets to name historical eras, and what will ours be called in 100 years’ time? How do we know how people sounded in the past? How old is sign language?

In Ask a Historian, the author, BBC podcaster, and public historian Greg Jenner provides answers to things you always wondered about, but didn’t know who to ask. Responding to 50 genuine questions from the public, Greg whisks you off on an entertaining tour through the ages, revealing the best and most surprising stories, facts, and historical characters from the past. Bouncing through a wide range of subjects – from ancient jokebooks, African empires, and bizarre tales of medicinal cannibalism, to the invention of meringues, mirrors, and menstrual pads – Ask A Historian spans the Stone Age to the Swinging Sixties, and offers up a deliciously amusing and informative smorgasbord of historical curiosities, devoured one morsel at a time.

If you listened to the audiobook and want to see the SUGGESTED READING LIST & SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY – CLICK HERE 

The ASK A HISTORIAN audiobook is a chart-topping bestseller on Audible. Narrated by Greg, it also features 1 hour of funny bonus material featuring Greg in conversation with Dr Janina Ramirez (BBC art history presenter), Shaparak Khorsandi (comedian and novelist), and Dan Schreiber (comedian, host of No Such Thing As A Fish podcast)

Listen to a 7-minute audiobook clip here 

Click here to read an excerpt from the book on the tricky question of ‘who was the richest person of all time?’


Critical Reviews

BBC HISTORY MAGAZINE, DECEMBER 2021A positive review of Ask A Historian published in BBC History Magazine


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Signed book

Signed books

I am happy to personally sign and dedicate books by sending out adhesive bookplates to stick in the front of your copy. Just email me at with your name, address, who the dedication is  for and a short bespoke message (if you want a specific message).