Internationally bestselling author, Giles Milton shares some favourite websites.

Giles Milton is the internationally bestselling author of eight works of narrative history, including Nathaniel’s Nutmeg and White Gold. His newly published book, Russian Roulette, tells the story of a small group of British spies sent into Soviet Russia in 1918 to thwart Lenin’s plans for global revolution.

Giles is also the author of two novels and three children’s books, two of them illustrated by his wife, the artist Alexandra Milton.

His book, White Gold, is currently being piloted for a major TV series on Channel 4. Don't miss Giles Milton's weekly history blog, Surviving History, with a new post on Tuesdays.


Past Imperfect - The strap-line on this brilliant history blog says it all: 'history with all the interesting bits left in.' Run by the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, and written by talented writers, it offers a quirky take on known and not-so-known stories from history. One of their more recent posts is typical: 'the mother and son team than conspired to kill Lincoln.'

The Times Digital Archive - This is one that could keep you going for years, the entire database of The Times newspaper, from 1785 to 2006. I have complete online access to it, thanks to my membership of the London Library. What makes it so useful is the keyword search. I have dipped into it on numerous occasions, especially when researching books. Obituaries, diplomatic visits and the daily weather, nothing goes unmentioned. An essential tool for anyone writing political or social history.

British Museum - My all-time favourite museum, to which I’m a regular visitor, also has an excellent website. Great online tours, an 'explore' section and a staggering two million objects from the collections that can be viewed on-line (and at high resolution as well). The photos of objects in the Pompeii and Herculaneum exhibition were so enticing that I headed straight to the museum.

alibris - I first started using this seriously when researching my book Paradise Lost: Smyrna 1922. Many of the books I needed to consult were unavailable in British libraries (even the British Library). A quick search on alibris revealed that quite a number of them were for sale. Better still, they were at extremely affordable prices. I’ve made a number of purchases and get considerable satisfaction from owning books that are not in the British Library. For bibliophiles - and collectors of rare first editions - alibris is a must.

History Today - Another must, especially if your business is history. Good, solid articles written by respected historians. The site is arranged by both themes and by period. Some great articles in the Soviet Union section. The history of blindness, the Sao Paulo railway and a piece on Russia’s American empire are just some of the latest highlights.

Victoria and Albert Museum - As with the British Museum site, I use this for consulting its 'search the collections.' My hobby and passion is repoussé metalwork. I’ve even set up a website displaying my work, I get much inspiration from the Victoria and Albert museum website.

4 September 2013