This Timewatch on the Boxer War is a fairly good grounding, for anyone wanting a basic history. It contains a George Morrison who seems to owe a fair bit to Brendon Fraser in The Mummy but I can live with that. One of the talking heads, Diane Preston, wrote the book I used a lot for research on Warring States as she is very good at outlining the issues and actions taken.
At the chap’s at the weekend, I bemoaned Timewatch being on opposite Strictly Come Dancing with the comment “I’ve read books on that!”. To which the chap’s flatmate’s response was “You wrote a book on that”. It’s odd the extent to which, once a book is done, the historical topic becomes an interest divorced from that research process. I know I read this article and associated leader on the Internationales at the weekend – and the many articles over the last seven years about the reconciliation work going on in Spain – with fascination. I suspect the fiction set in those periods acts as a focus for my research, rather than a catalyst. The catalyst is just curiosity about something and a desire to learn more. I still have the Border Reivers on my research list, and have done for about six years, but there’s yet to be a focal point to trigger the active reading around them.