Category Archives: Book

The Surprising History of Champagne

Yesterday was #NationalWineDay, so I thought I’d post an extract from my book A Million Years In A Day on the surprising history of Champagne. If you enjoy this chapter, I hope you’ll perhaps take a look at the rest of the book, which charts the history of daily life across a modern Saturday. It’s fun, honest! 7…

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MY NEW BOOK ANNOUNCEMENT! The History of Celebrity

Greetings! Depending on how you felt about my first book, I come bearing good/terrible news. Yes, the fine people at Weidenfeld & Nicolson have commissioned me to write a second history book, and this one is all about… *drum roll* …The history of celebrity! Yes, given the huge pervasiveness of celebrity culture in the modern…

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A MILLION YEARS IN A DAY: COMING TO AMERICA, JUNE 2016

THE BRITISH ARE COMING! THE BRITISH ARE COMING! Well, ok, it’s just me. And I’m actually half-French… But anyway, it gives me enormous pleasure to announce that A MILLION YEARS IN A DAY will be published in the USA on the 21st June 2016 by Thomas Dunne Books! To pre-order your copy of the newly updated…

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The Surprising History of Your Morning Routine

One day in the future, when we are wizened and grey, we may look back on our lives and regale our great-grandkids with the Kodak moments that shone like beacons in our own personal biography – our nervous first kiss, our first passionate love affair, the excitement of passing the driving test, the joy of…

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A MILLION YEARS IN A DAY – BIBLIOGRAPHY

Hello, you look nice today. Have you done something new with your hair? No, seriously, it really suits you. Anyway, the reason you’re here is hopefully because you enjoyed my book and perhaps want to know more about some of the things I mentioned?  I really hope that’s the case, because that’s the raison d’etre for my entire…

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Animals On The Wall: Cave Art & Stone Age Pets

Thousands of years ago in the frosty depths of the Last Ice Age, with each cool breath lingering wispily under their noses, people we might call Ug and Nug sat in dimly lit caves, ensconced from the perils of the outside world. At some point they looked at those barren cave walls and decided to scribble…

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Time To Rise and Shine!! The History of Waking Up

With the exception of zombies and sleepwalkers, who are surprisingly proactive with their subconscious lurching, almost every day in our life must first begin with the simple achievement of waking up.  Biological processes aside, going from a state of slumber to a state of alertness is wonderfully simple; you set your alarm clock, go to…

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(Coinci)DENTAL: The Terrifying History of Dentistry

I’m one of those tediously uber-rational types who disavow all superstitions, pseudoscientific claims and assertions of cosmic destiny.  As far as I’m concerned, with 7 billion people bumbling around the planet, the odds of spooky ‘I-bet-you-can’t-explain-that’ stuff happening on a daily basis are actually pretty high. It’s surely just statistical probability that coincidences will fling…

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Where there’s smoke (alarm)… there’s fire! A Brief History of Sleep

I am a terrible sleeper. I’m really, really bad at it, and not through lack of practice. I’ve been putting in the requisite hours of training since the day I was born. By Malcolm Gladwell’s estimations, I should be a world-class snoozer by now, having easily clocked up way more than 10,000 hours of slumber….

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Defending The Stone Age: Why I Wrote My Book

From our lofty vantage point in the 21st century, everything preceding our own era looks ridiculous: the weird beliefs, the stupid clothes, the primitive technology. But what we fail to realise is that every society since the dawn of time has considered itself the pinnacle of human achievement; Chaucer didn’t saunter around saying: “we’re in…

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