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August 19, 2007


Gavin Robinson

Maybe they have a point that in popular culture SF and fantasy have increased at the expense of military history. I said here that there aren't really that many WWII computer games compared to SF and fantasy games. But the two things don't have to be mutually exclusive. For the first half of the 1980s I was obsessed with Star Wars and WWII at the same time. Maybe that post is just intended to confirm the prejudices of their core audience.

I think Osprey are doing a pretty good job with their blog, and given the right encouragement will get even better. It's certainly nothing like stereotypical perceptions of publishers' blogs as being nothing but press releases. They've got some good military history blogs on their blogroll (although there are plenty more which could be added), and they'll be hosting the Military History Carnival in December, which should get them more fully involved in the blogosphere. Also the gender balance of the team represents a massive increase in the representation of women in the military history blogosphere.

Although I think Osprey books are cool, I don't think I've got the right skills and experience to write one, and John Tincey has already done a good job on civil war cavalry.

Ross Mahoney

There is some sense in what Gavin has written. In my hobby, Modelling, we are starting to see a shift where SF/Fantasy is much more popular as compared to the military aspect of the hobby. I think this is a general trend over quite a few genres. As gavin mentioned it has happened in video games.

Does this mean that Military History is dead. Absolutely not. I think my post on course in the UK has shown that there is a growing interest in the subject of war. It is just the case that other things have become interesting to and, therefore, there is a bit of an equilibrium occuring.

Richard Sullivan

I'm glad my original post generated such a serious and considered response. I think the original point I was trying to make was that where my childhood was awash with military toys and books etc, that sustained and developed an interest in military history that impetus for my children has now gone. So are the children of today going to have that interest and where will it come from (hoping as I do that Osprey Publishing will still be around in 20 - 30 years)?

But the comments I received and the recharging of batteries that shows like Historicon give renewed my optimism.

As to Military History blogosphere. We've always known it is lively online, but it is only recently that we've realsed the full extent. Or rather it is only recently that we've realised that that the full extent is a lot larger than we had thought. It is good news for any Military History enthusiast like myself.

Gary Smailes

I believe what Richard writes below is correct. Children today don’t have access to the same kind of military toys that we did. However, I think if anything they have a far wider access to military history. Computer games are the most obvious example, with series such as Call of Duty and Medal of Honour teaching our kids all about WW2. The fact this comes form a US-centric viewpoint is another argument. The internet is a huge source for kids. I just wish I had had access to a website like Wikipedia when I was growing up. My knowledge was confined to the books I could lend from my local library. Had I had the information free available at the touch of a button then I am sure my interests would have developed differently. Finally, the UK school curriculum is now more military based than ever. Children learn about the battle of Hastings, the battle of Marathon, WW2 and even WW1. However, I am glad to see Osprey are renewed with military history, after all they do sell some really cool books.

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