Dr Lynette Davidson was a university administrator in Canada before she figured out that the university would never put her in charge of anything without a doctorate. Several years and two more degrees later, she still does a great deal of administration. She did her graduate work in modern British history at Oxford. She works as a college history lecturer and as an historical consultant for television, and she lives in Surrey with her partner and two daughters. She is an erratic golfer and a connoisseur of inexpensive wine.
The Financial Times called history "the new sex" in 2004. History television and popular history books have boomed in recent years, showing a hearty appetite on the part of non-specialists for tales of the past.
There is, however, a darker side to this popularity. One British writer has recently been jailed for what he has written. Two authors have sued the author of The DaVinci Code for using the ideas they presented as historical fact.
Are consumers of popular history buying a product that does what it says on the tin? Or are they being manipulated by authors and producers who make things up and present them as fact? Is there such a thing as bad history?
Added by tommorris on March 20, 2006