Who Do You Think You Are?
BBC 1 has just shown the first of a new series of “Who Do You Think You Are?” in which the ancestors of various celebrities are traced. This episode featured the actress Michelle Keegan, and we did some of the initial research, because one side of the family came from Gibraltar and can be traced back to Genoa in Italy. In our book Gibraltar: The Greatest Siege in British History, we talk about the Genoese who lived on Gibraltar, many of whom were fishermen or market gardeners. We were thrilled to see Richard Garcia explaining her ancestors to Michelle Keegan inside the lovely Garrison Library at Gibraltar. Richard very expertly chaired our talk at the 2017 Gibunco Gibraltar International Literary Festival, in the very same venue. Jennifer Ballantine, its wonderful librarian, also took Michelle to places where the family had once lived, in what proved to be a fascinating programme.
Instead of newsletters, we will now and again put features on our blog. The latest ones are: London’s Great Beer Flood (of October 1814); Reading Matters (a summary of our ‘readable’ books); Henry Ince and Soldier-Artificers (on the very first tunnel created at Gibraltar); and The Prudential and the Rock (why an American insurance company uses a symbol and slogan related to Gibraltar).
For many years, we created newsletters that were emailed to subscribers and contained our latest news and features on anything that appealed to us. We were able to stray well beyond the confines of our published books, or perhaps expand on something in those books. Regrettably, we have now stopped producing newsletters, because of the new General Data Protection Regulation, which places an onerous burden on small businesses. All our newsletters (53 in all) are listed on Our Newsletter page, with a brief description of their contents. We will continue to add any news on this Latest News page, and any forthcoming talks or interviews will be listed on the Events page.
Gibraltar Audiobook Award
The acclaimed actor John Telfer brilliantly narrates an unabridged downloadable audiobook of Gibraltar produced by Hachette Audio (UK) and Penguin Audio (US). The AudioFile Magazine has just awarded it an AudioFile Earphones Award, and their reviewer said: “John Telfer’s masterful reading of Roy and Lesley Adkins’s history of the 1779-83 Spanish siege of British-held Gibraltar is a model of audiobook technique … The effect is singular, and the story he tells is itself amazing, filled with action and human drama, a tale of genuine consequence … Telfer’s expert reading captures the heat and uncertainty of unfolding events, and leaves listeners with something to think about.”
Gibraltar in America
Our latest book, Gibraltar: The Greatest Siege in British History, has just been published in hardback in the United States and Canada, and it is also available as an e-book and audiobook. There have already been some great reviews, including The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Times. See our Gibraltar page for more details.
Military History Monthly
Our article ‘Gibraltar 1782’ was published in Military History Monthly 91 for April 2018. You can find details of this magazine and how to subscribe here. The seven-page article on the floating battery attack during the Great Siege has been splendidly designed and published.
Gibraltar in UK
Gibraltar: The Greatest Siege in British History was published in hardback in the UK in September 2017. An e-book is also available, as well as a brilliant downloadable audiobook narrated by John Telfer.
Take a look at our website’s Gibraltar page for more details.
Talks and Other Events
Please see our Events page for details of any talks. We are always happy to consider invitations to give talks and interviews, and the Events page has details about our publicist Hayley Camis (who organises the UK events for our Gibraltar book) and Theresa Gaffney (who organises interviews in north America). This picture was taken at a talk at a branch of Waterstones, where the staff joined in the spirit of things by dressing up for the occasion.
We launched the Gibunco Gibraltar International Literary Festival in November 2017 with the festival’s first talk, on ‘Gibraltar: The Greatest Siege in British History’. The event was sold out, and the entire festival was an incredible experience. See our newsletter 51 for a description. Our Events page shows what we have planned for 2018.
We were interviewed about our book Gibraltar on the Eric Metaxas show on 6th April, and you can hear the interview here. Push the slider to about 39.43, as that’s where it starts. Eric Metaxas is himself a bestselling author, and his show focuses on religious books, so we were looking forward to discussing religion during the siege. Unfortunately the sound engineer had problems, so that instead of it being a 40 minute interview, it was cut after 10 minutes. If you can’t bear to listen to the poor sound quality, then just heed Eric’s final words – ‘grab a copy’!
We were interviewed by Patrick Geoghegan (professor of modern history at Trinity College, Dublin), on the ‘Talking History’ programme for Newstalk Radio in January, and he described Gibraltar as ‘a brilliant book and a brilliant story’. This is a wonderful book programme, devoted to history books, the best we’ve ever come across. This particular programme was ‘Best of January Books‘, and you can still hear it as a podcast at www.newstalk.com/Best-of-January-Books. It comes up with a picture of ‘The Canterbury Tales. Click on ‘Listen Now’. Ours is the first book featured, and the interview is about 10 minutes long.
Our other radio interviews have included one with Giles Brown of the ‘Let’s Talk’ show on Talk Radio Europe, one with Carrie Cooper for BBC Radio Jersey and one for the Gibraltar Broadcasting Corporation.
Interviews and Features
In the November 2017 issue of the magazine History Revealed, we were featured as ‘Book of the Month’, alongside an interview with us. In the December issue of Family Tree magazine, we were ‘Top Choice’ of the month, and that review was linked to an online interview with us. There have also been several features in local newspapers about Gibraltar: The Greatest Siege in British History, such as in the Chiswick Herald, Gibraltar Chronicle, Gibraltar Panorama and Sussex Express. The Gibraltar page of our website gives reviews of our latest book, and reviews of our other books can be seen at the end of each website page.
Other Recent Articles
In the spring 2018 issue of Quarterdeck, we have an feature on what to see as a visitor to Gibraltar, especially from the Age of Sail. It’s well worth downloading this free online magazine here. In Folklife Quarterly 57 (April 2018) we have an article called ‘Stand to Your Guns’, a song that first appeared in the comic opera ‘The Milesian’ in 1777 and is often sung today as ‘Stand By Your Guns’. The words ‘stand to your guns’ was actually a naval order, and our article describes the song and how cannons were fired in naval battles. Another of our magazine articles, on ‘Gibraltar’, was published in BBC History Magazine for February 2017 (in their ‘My Favourite Place’ series), in which we focused on visiting military sites on Gibraltar. The Who Do You Think You Are? magazine (summer 2017) was a ‘Jane Austen special’, and we had an article in it called ‘Focus on Nelson’s Navy’, showing how to track your ancestors in the Royal Navy of Jane Austen’s time. In Folklife Quarterly 54 (July 2017), we had an article called ‘Poor Portraits and Broken Tokens’, based on songs relating to the problem of recognising someone after a long voyage; one group is referred to as ‘broken token’ songs, where the returning sailor is not recognised by his beloved until he produces his half of a token. In Who Do You Think You Are? magazine 130 (September 2017), we have a Gibraltar-related article on the family of Colonel William Green, who was the Chief Engineer throughout the Great Siege, and his wife Miriam Watson. It describes the difficulties and discoveries in tracing their ancestry and life together, along with tips for tracing military and Gibraltar ancestors. In Folklife Quarterly 55 (October 2017), we have another Gibraltar article, called ‘The British Salamanders’, on a ballad of that name, and in Folklife Quarterly 56 (January 2018), there was a festive article on ‘The Boar’s Head Carol – and Blood Month’.
Daily Mail Double-Page Feature
We were thrilled to have had a double-page digest feature on our book Gibraltar: The Greatest Siege in British History in the Daily Mail. It appeared on Friday 13th October, and we wonder if the date was chosen because the huge floating battery attack on Gibraltar in 1782 also took place on a Friday 13th (which turned out to be unlucky for one side!). You can see the Daily Mail piece online here, which has attracted a lot of comments.
Jane Austen 200 years
Last year, 2017, was the 200th anniversary of the death of Jane Austen. It was also the 200th anniversary of her posthumously published novels Persuasion and Northanger Abbey. Our book Eavesdropping on Jane Austen’s England is published in the UK by Abacus, giving the background to the way of life at the time, enabling readers to better understand the Austen novels. The Daily Mail described the paperback as a ‘must for anyone who wants a peek under Mr Darcy’s wet shirt’! The paperback is also available in the US and Canada, as Jane Austen’s England, where it published by Penguin, with an equally gorgeous jacket.
Persuasion (published in 1817) and Mansfield Park are considered to be Jane Austen’s ‘naval novels’. For an insight into her connection with the Royal Navy, check out a guest blog we did a while ago on Julian Stockwin’s website called ‘Why Jane Austen Loves a Sailor’.
Reasons for not living in Jane Austen’s England!
We have a slideshow here in the Huffington Post, giving 13 reasons why you would NOT want to live in Jane Austens England … it’s safest to read books about the era instead!
Chinese Greek and Roman
Our books The Handbook to Life in Ancient Rome and The Handbook to Life in Ancient Greece are now published in Chinese in hardcover by The Commercial Press in Beijing (ISBN 978-7-100-11480-6 and 978-7-100-12037-1). Their website can be viewed here.