As many of you will know, I’m currently studying History with the Open University. As such, I felt it was totally justified to treat myself to a subscription of BBC History magazine. Totally justified and I have thoroughly enjoyed my first copy that arrived a couple of weeks ago.
Whilst browsing, I spotted the above topic and it gave me pause. You see they are running a poll, their History Hot 100 list, in a bid to find out which historical figures are most interesting to us at the moment. I suppose people do go in and out of favour in this way, so it will be interesting to see who comes out on top – I believe Richard III topped the list in 2015.
I’ve decided to get involved and nominate my top three. It did take me a while to decide, though the first one jumped out at me straight away as I’ve recently been studying the French Revolution and subsequent wars so have developed something of a fascination for….
I have long known who this man is, but until I studied the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars this year, I did not know very much. How a man came to wield as much power as this man did, and fell the Holy Roman Empire is just amazing to me, and I now find myself intrigued by him and his portrayal through history by both the French and us Brits as we waged war against him. The historiography of figures like this is often just as intriguing as the person, and I can see that a master of propaganda such as Napoleon would definitely have given historians plenty to explore. Hence my latest book purchase, I’m looking forward to learning more.
I’ve had a fascination with Charles I since studying the British Civil Wars for my ‘A’ levels, but recently, I’ve found myself interested in his son, Charles II. BBC History magazine ran a story this month on a new book, Charles II: The Star King which has just come out that I now have my eye on, detailing his life. Having lived through Civil Wars, the Great Plague, the Fire of London and dealing with the execution of his father, this is sure to be an interesting read and yet he seems to be most well-known for his mistresses, and of course, restoring the monarchy. I want to know more about the man who had the huge task of uniting Britain after civil wars.
I cannot quite recall when Gandhi crept into my conciousness, but he’s been nestled there for a long time. I remember watching Ben Kingsley’s portrayal of him and wanting to know more, hence I bought the pictured book and I’ve continued to dig deeper. What can you say about a man who changed history, used non-violence to resist and protest and moved so many? A truly inspiring man.
I was also drawn to John of Gaunt, Jane Austen, Martin Luther, Henry V, and oh-so-many, so I will stop there!
Voting is now open over at BBC History Magazine, closing at midnight on 18th April.
Who would be on your list?