Today, I’m joined by historian, writer and podcaster, Katja Hoyer. Katja’s podcast, Tommies and Jerries, has a unique style that not only manages to inform us about the similarities and differences between British and German, but also has a combination of fun and form. Katja has also recently written an amazing book, Blood and Iron: The Rise and Fall of the German Empire 1871-1918 which tells the story of a country that is just as influential now as it was when it was first created. Her style is to keep you reading, even if you know the end; as if it was some high stakes drama with the characters jostling for power and influence along the way. Now having read her book a few times, I felt it was time for us to have a chat, so I hope you are sitting comfortably and happy to stay with us.
In what was great conversation, we kicked off with a chat about Katja on this day’s tweets and my experience of reading her book and I asked Katja if there was an idea behind writing it in a non academic way (03:00). We discussed the style of the book, and I remarked that it remined me of reading a novel rather than a history book (04.30). Next up, I asked Katja if history was always something that she was interested in (06:25). We had an interesting discussion about the definition of modern history and how it is defined on the timeline (08:35). Important topics came up with regard to the publication of books and if self publications can damage the recording of history (11:00).
As we chatted, we talked about the concept of counterfactual history and if it is relevant to history as whole (17:40). Towards the end of the episode, I was keen to know more about Katja’s podcast Tommies and Jerries (26:15) and how the idea came to fruition, and we finished up (30:40) discussing what Katja is reading and watching at the moment, as well as our mutual love for classic cars.