Which historical figure would you be? I bet you’ve pondered that yourself. Would you be Alexander the Great marching across the Turkish plains, or Napoleon ascending to power through the sheer strength of his leadership and acumen? Would you be quiet and contemplative like Wilfred Owen, or the loud and bombastic General Patton? Well we asked some of our authors their thoughts on this, and they came back with some rather interesting answers.
Geoff Coughlin – Wing Commander Guy Gibson VC & Roger Dunsford – William Wilberforce
Geoff Coughlin and Roger Dunsford are the authors of Three in Thirteen, a book about John Singleton, a night-fighting bomber ace who was one of the first pilots to use onboard radar technology on a Mosquito aircraft.
Geoff, being such an aviation enthusiast, has unsurprisingly chosen the legendary leader of ‘The Dam Busters’ Guy Gibson. He was one of the most accomplished pilots of the Second World War and after the famous raid became something of a celebrity in his own right, echoing the likes of Albert Ball in WWI. He even appeared on Desert Island Discs and, true to form, picked one of his songs to be The Flying Dutchman by Wagner. Gibson, however, chose to return to flying, despite his fame, and was tragically killed in September 1944.
Roger, the co-author, has opted for William Wilberforce, one of Britain’s most respected ever politicians. He is best-known for his tireless 48-year campaign to abolish the slave trade in the British Empire. He succeeded in having the Slave Trade Act of 1807 passed, which abolished the slave trade in the Empire, before the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833, which made the practice illegal.
Niklas Zetterling – A not so humble answer: Carl Friedrich Gauss
Niklas Zetterling is the author of Blitzkrieg, a revolutionary new take on the German war machine, which uses sources never before translated into English.
Niklas has chosen Carl Friedrich Gauss, a man often described as the greatest mathematician since Antiquity. Born a prodigy, Gauss contributed to many fields including algebra and astronomy.
Dan Daly – John F. Kennedy, he also sank his boat PT 109. The difference is he became President of the United States.
Dan Daly is the author of the rip-roaring Vietnam memoir White Water Red Hot Lead, which tells of his experiences as a Swift Boat captain in the late sixties.
Dan Daly chooses the 35th President, John F. Kennedy, because of their similar military careers. Both of them commanded Swift Boats, which were sunk, but luckily in both cases without any loss of life. JFK later joked, when asked how he became a war hero: ‘It was easy. They cut my PT boat in half.’ Dan Daly may not have become President, but he did go on to write a fantastic book, which is the next best thing we think.
Fred Bridgland – None. I’m perfectly content to have lived my own history.
Fred is the author of classic The War for Africa released as a brand new edition in May 2017, with new prologue and epilogue explaining the significance of the Angolan Civil War for a new generation of readers.
Fred gives an answer that many of us would repeat. Fred worked as a journalist for decades, overseas in places such as India, the Middle East and Southern Africa writing about some of the most dangerous warzones of the latter half of the 20th Century.
Penny Legg – Novelist Georgette Heyer
Penny Legg is the author of Crime in the Second World War, a book about the surprising rise in crime during the war years. It discusses the widespread looting after the Blitz, the rise of the Black Market, and discusses some of the most prominent serial killers who were active during the war, including the ‘Blackout Ripper’ Gordon Cummins.
Georgette Heyer, the prolific novelist, was one of the most popular authors of the 20th Century. Many of her novels were set in the Regency period, and she was known for using the setting and time as a plot device. As Penny is the author of 12 books herself, with a focus on the past, it is unsurprising she admires such a person.
Andrew Richards – Sir Winston Churchill
Andrew Richards is the author of the upcoming The Flag about David Railton, the man who came up with the idea of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Andrew has chosen possibly the most significant figure in British history, and the man who is often described as ‘The Greatest Briton.’ Churchill was a parliamentarian for over 50 years, but made his name as the Prime Minister during the time of our toughest but finest hour. His inspirational speeches and shrewd military decisions are widely believed to have made a great contribution to Britain’s eventual victory over Nazi Germany.
To Learn more about the upcoming release of The Flag in September, check out its webpage.