Saturday, February 6, 2010

Magazines for History Geeks

For years I'd seen Renaissance Magazine in bookstores and never picked up a copy. For some reason I thought it was just a magazine for people who liked Renaissance Faires. That was until recently when I ordered a back issue that had an article on Veronica Franco. It turns out that I was wrong. Sure Renaissance Magazine has a lot of ads in the back for the various Ren Faires around the country but it is also filled with interesting and unusual articles.

The Veronica Franco (Issue #41) issue alone has several articles that I found interesting, including one tourism in Medieval Venice, the Origins of the Mafia and Venetian gondolas. Looking at some of the articles in the back issues made me salivate. Whole issues devoted to Robin Hood, and Women of Arthurian Legend just to name a few. I was in heaven. Unfortunatley back issues cost a fortune. The one I ordered cost a whopping $25! So it will take me awhile before I get around to ordering any other issues. However, the magazine itself is $5.95 for a single issue and $29 for a one-year subscription of 6 issues. If you are curious about the magazine, most Barnes & Nobles and Borders Book Stores carry it.

My second gem comes courtesy of Amy at Passages to the Past who first brought the magazine to the attention of history geeks everywhere in the blogosphere. Herstoria as the cover suggests is a new British magazine that focuses on women in history. Of course, the minute that I heard about it, I had to subscribe. International subscription are about $45.00 for the year which gets you 4 issues, but if you are a new subscriber they include one of the back issues with your first issue. Unfortunately my copies arrived damaged, so I had to wait for them to dry out before I coudl read them!

The winter issue includes the following stories:
  • An article n secret agent Yvonne Baseden parachuted into occupied France.
  • Carimandua, the Queen who ruled at the same time as Boudica, and who managed to keep her people safe and prosperous during thirty years of Roman occupation.
  • Women's poetry of the second world war.
  • Women’s history walk around the medieval city of Norwich.

There are also book and film reviews, conference and museum listings etc. At the moment, the focus in the magazine is mainly on the history of women in Britain and Europe, but hopefully if the readership of the magazine grows, they will expand their focus.

I highly recommend both of these magazines.

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