Author Archives: historywithatwist

About historywithatwist

I am a journalist, author and book editor. I have published five novels - four (Tan, The Golden Grave, A Time of Traitors and Patriots' Blood) set during the Irish War of Independence and Civil War, and the fifth (High Crimes), a modern thriller. I'm a history enthusiast who loves a good yarn.

The race to the ‘Promised Land’

They sat tensely in their wagons and buckboards, or on horseback, thousands of settlers reining in excitable, whinnying mounts whose hooves pawed the ground in anticipation, waiting for the moment when they could be unleashed into a madcap gallop that … Continue reading

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Around the World in 44 Days with Denmark’s Boy Wonder

How a globe-trotting teenager enthralled millions in 1928 The planet has become such a small place. Now, we can hold the world in the palm of our hand, scrolling on our smartphones from one country to the next while lounging … Continue reading

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How Russia has used rape as a weapon of war

First, a warning for those of a sensitive nature, there are some upsetting descriptions in the paragraphs ahead… “Russian soldiers loot, rape and kill. 10 y.o. girls with vaginal and rectal tears. Women with swastika shaped burns. Russia. Russian Men … Continue reading

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The Titans of Antarctica

The Irish polar heroes who battled their way through certain death and into history It’s Easter 1916, April 24, and some desperate Irishmen are about to launch a bid for freedom against overwhelming odds, but this struggle doesn’t have Dublin’s … Continue reading

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Putin, Parkinson’s, and History’s Ultimate Power Trip

History repeating itself. That’s the phrase du jour; a way to try to understand what is happening in Ukraine. Enigmatic Putin, and the parallels with Hitler taking over the Sudetenland and all the invasions that followed on from that, reverberate … Continue reading

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Getting Away With Murder at ‘Little Auschwitz’

Przemysłowa Street and the surrounding area in the Polish city of Lodz, is a narrow, tree-lined, grass-verged thoroughfare with low-rise, utilitarian, multi-coloured, apartment blocks. On a sunny day, though, it looks like it might be a pleasant enough place to … Continue reading

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Life After Death With McCurdy’s Mummy

Elmer’s mummified corpse proved a popular attraction; so popular, in fact, that there came a time when two men arrived to claim they were Elmer’s relatives and took his body with them…. only to include it as part of a travelling circus of their own, to be displayed far and wide.

And so Elmer’s ‘life’ on the road began. Over time, he went from one one carni show to the next, to be poked at, toyed with and tweaked by curious citizens willing to pay a few cents admission for the privilege of viewing McCurdy’s corpse.

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From Cobh to Boot Hill – the Bisbee Massacre’s Irish Bandit

As Dan ‘Yorkie’ Kelly stood on the scaffold in the Wild West town of Tombstone in March of 1884, his thoughts must have strayed back to Queenstown (now Cobh), in Cork, from where he had set sail just three years … Continue reading

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Hang ‘Em High – Lady Betty, the Irish Executioner

They say desperate times call for desperate measures, but you’d wonder how desperate things would have to be in order to do what Elizabeth Sugrue did to keep bread on the table. Elizabeth’s name may not now be famous enough to shake the very … Continue reading

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Love Affair at Auschwitz

Love means different things to different people. Circumstances shape it and turn people towards each other in the most unexpected of places. Sometimes it’s fleeting, other times deeply felt. Yet, there are times when ‘love’ is a means to an … Continue reading

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