I'm honoured to have been invited to speak again at the Crouch End & District u3a in North London, this time on the history of assassination.
Drawing on my book Assassins' Deeds. A History of Assassination from Ancient Egypt to the Present Day (Reaktion), I'll be talking about murder by poisoned umbrella or booby-trapped toy or killer disguised as a bear.
The most notorious assassinations will, of course, be there - Julius Caesar, Good King Wenceslaus, Thomas Becket, the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, JFK, Martin Luther King, John Lennon, Kim Jong-nam, as well as the ones that got away: Napoleon, Kaiser Wilhelm II, Hitler, Stalin, Queen Victoria. How might history have been different if their would-be killers had succeeded?
Because dynastic ambition was so often the motive, perpetrators were often spouses, parents, children or siblings. One Turkish sultan had 19 of his brothers strangled. The powerful have always tried to protect themselves, but that can misfire as a dozen or so Roman emperors were murdered by their guards. On the other hand, many victims seem to have been surprisingly careless. Abraham Lincoln had let his bodyguard go for a drink.
I'll also be examining the thorny question of whether assassination works.
The talk is on 19 January at 1030. https://cedu3a.org.uk/monthly-meetings/