1,000 years of bizarre history from Britain and beyond.
What’s this all about?
There is no greater tale in all of fact or fiction than Stick a Flag in it: 1,000 Years of Bizarre History From Britain and Beyond.
This book will lead you down a gripping, often grizzly path of true history that is so unbelievable you couldn’t make it up.
You will be taken on a jaw-dropping journey from the Norman Invasion of 1066 that changed the future of Europe to the eve of the First World War.
Every major person, event and place in-between is brought vibrantly to life through powerful, pithy prose.
And they're accompanied by plenty of minor but utterly bizarre events you weren't taught at school – which is a damn shame because these captivating historic quirks will make you laugh out loud, despair in disbelief and think ‘why the f**k did they do that?’
Take, for example, the tragic but true tale of the alchemist who strapped chicken feathers to his back and attempted to fly from Scotland to France and the saga of a ruthless band of 18th-century Yorkshiremen who almost crashed the English treasury from a pub.
What’s in it?
The book, like Thoughty2, began in Britain but is global in scope, featuring history from far-flung places like America. In the British sections alone, the rich narrative will bring to life how a great nation and its neighbours were built on the back of political intrigue, drama and debauchery. All the fantastic foibles and great adventures of Britain’s Kings and Queens are shown in a new light. You have never seen history’s royalty like this before. From Richard the Lionheart to Richard the Child-Murderer.
You will be tickled by the king who got so angry he dropped to all fours and tore his mattress apart with his teeth. You will be terrified by the shocking abundance of brutal beheadings, hangings and hacked-off genitals.
A millennium of mischief and incredible events are told through vibrant language that is laced with lashings of wit and no shortage of satire. From the Wars of the Roses to the Seven Years’ War. Stick a Flag in it is unapologetically bold and daring, no stone is left unturned and no witticism is left unsaid.
Mysteries of the past are solved: who killed the two princes in the tower? What happened when an eccentric English aristocrat, disguised as an Arab, sneaked into Mecca? And what happened to the priest who hid inside a wall but forgot to bring a packed lunch?
You can read 2 sample chapters and see a selection of the rest of the chapters at the Excerpt tab below.
Stop being so British, what ELSE is in it?
Away from British shores, discover how the seeds of empire spread to every corner of the globe. How glorious new nations were built and why it’s all because the bloody British couldn’t get enough tea.
Learn the surprising ways in which a small island built the modern world and raised its greatest cities from the barren soil, from New York to Sydney. You will be taken on a journey of new discoveries from the viscous headiness of Victorian London to the swashbuckling waters of the Caribbean with its formidable pirates and privateers. Follow history’s greatest adventurers to the vast white wasteland of the Antarctic wilderness and then to the perversions of a top-secret Indian brothel where a British spy spent time undercover.
The intrigue is infectious and the bizarre is weirder than you could ever imagine; this is history like you’ve never known it before.
Why a book?
Stick a Flag in it is a passion project by seasoned YouTuber Thoughty2. The channel’s creator Arran Lomas is a history fanatic and a self-professed anglophile. He relishes in digging up the weird and wacky bits of history - those rare anecdotes that make you say “seriously, that really happened?”
Arran chose to write a book because unlike his YouTube videos, the written format allows him to delve deeper than ever before; a book provided more room to truly explore the breadth of inspiring and often bizarre history that he so loves to tell.
True to form, Arran has crammed this volume with his favourite mind-blowing tales from our past and he has lifted the history that you thought was mundane to brave, new and exciting levels.
1851: Sir Richard Francis Burton
Typically, humans excel at one or two chosen skills. They are at best mediocre in the realm of all others. However, occasionally throughout history, there are those rare enigmas who have an astonishingly extensive list of titles, accolades and abilities to their name. One such map-divining demi-god was Sir Richard Francis Burton. It is only once you learn of the enormous breadth of Burton's talents, all of which he mastered, that you will begin to appreciate how this Victorian man became legend. Born in 1821 Burton was a British explorer, geographer, translator, writer, soldier, orientalist, cartographer, ethnologist, spy, linguist, poet, fencer, and diplomat. Well, I did say.
It was glaringly obvious from a young age that Burton would never be the type of person to lead a quiet life. As a teenager Burton was punished for writing salacious letters to prostitutes, he smashed his music teacher over the head with a violin case and perforated his brother’s cheek with a fencing foil. I would hazard to say that things were not off to a good start, I fear, however, that Burton would argue to the contrary.
Burton was at heart an academic with an unquenchable lust for knowledge, exploration and women - especially exploring women. At a young age he discovered a love for learning languages, he quickly gained fluency in French, Italian, Neapolitan and Latin. All of which Burton, of course, used for the noblest of deads: seducing the various bountiful women of these regions. Throughout his life, he masterfully acquired proficiency in other linguistic arenas such as Arabic. He spoke twenty-nine European, Asian and African languages by the time he had matured into an astute adult (it is important to note that in describing Richard Francis Burton ‘astute’ depicts an erudite drunk aristocrat wielding a shotgun).
Perpetually restless, Burton joined the East India Company in his early twenties...
To read on and see a selection of the other chapters to come, click Read More below.
1776: The Bloody Code gets quite bloody
At the Southern end of Edgeware-road, London, very near to the Marble Arch, once stood the world’s most frequented and public theatre of mass execution, Tyburn. In 1571, precisely on the spot where the present-day Edgeware Road, Oxford Road and Bayswater Road meet, was constructed the Tyburn Tree. A large wooden triangle supported several metres in the air by three wooden legs. Its exact location is today marked by a circular stone plaque surrounded by three oak trees. This modern monument to a thoroughly murderous medieval location is situated on the most beautiful of all man-made monoliths - a bloody traffic island. Every year millions of feet pound this ancient and terrible tomb, yet few souls note its significance.
Between 1571 and 1783, over 1,000 men and 100 women were theatrically hung from the Tyburn Tree. This wooden construct of death was designed to facilitate multiple executions. The executions themselves were grand public displays with handfuls of convicted felons often dispatched of in a single dreadful day. On the 23rd of June 1649, twenty-three men and one woman were tragically towed to the Tyburn Tree in eight carts and all hanged, simultaneously in front of a crowd of thousands. The turnout was especially large. It was like the Live Aid of the day, albeit with somewhat more maligned motives. So popular as entertainment were the Tyburn hangings that the local villagers erected large spectator stands to host the more well-to-do day-trippers in search of a good gory day out for all the family to enjoy. These premium seats came at a fee.
So fabulous an event was the sight of your cousin horrifically and unforgettably breaking their neck with the grim snap of a rope that executions were often treated as public holidays. London workers were granted the entire day off work, so they could...
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