Annette Laing
Annette Laing

We live in strange times. Well, blimey, what else is new?

You may like history. You may hate it. You may not be sure.

Well, hello there! My kind of person! I’m Annette Laing. I’m a renegade ex-professor of history (tenured, and quit, not fired, thank you), novelist, presenter of non-boring history in schools and conferences and wherever, and a Brit in the US. As I will never tire of telling you, this does NOT mean I know everything. because that sort of claim is very unHistorian.

Non-Boring History is a website packed full of historical goodness, and not clickbait. It’s not heavily politicized journalism masquerading as history. It’s not “isn’t that quaint” trivia.

What Non-Boring History is, real history, important stuff you will be glad to know exists, retold as chatty journalism with jokes! No footnotes, but I have historians breathing down my neck, so there’s that.

This is your chance to read academic history, the stuff you never knew you never knew, rewritten for real people like you. To meet the real people (also historians) who write it. To visit historical sites in places you never thought of going yourself, like Nebraska, unless you live in Nebraska, in which case I apologize.

Non-Boring History is a warm place to learn unexpected and exciting new ways of looking at the world, in good ways, and even if you have already decided you’re pretty much done with learning. At Non-Boring History, you may discover why you think what you think, no matter what that is.

How Non-Boring History Works

Everything I write belongs to one of several areas of the Non-Boring History site, listed along the top of the home page. When you subscribe, you get them all.

Don’t want podcasts? Not into my road trips? You can opt out of any areas you decide you don’t want, anytime, with one click.

  • TALES: Annette Tells Tales. These long-form posts are the heart of what I do. Here’s where I rewrite historians’ often (sorry, historians) boring prose and complex ideas, as well as original documents, into something normal people actually want to read.

  • ALOUD: Non-Boring History Aloud. Podcasts of Annette Tells Tales posts.

  • ROAD: Annette on the Road. Join me virtually and in (almost) real time as I journal my journeys in the US and UK and their histories. I’m often accompanied by my non-historian, real-person husband (He Who Shall Not Be Named On The Internets, or HWSNBNOTI, pronounced Hoosen Benoti).

  • BITS: Bits of History. Random items from my personal collection, and how they’re not so random as you might think!

  • THROWBACKS. Writing and experiences from a life lived in archives, classrooms, and museums. I have opinions.

  • NEW! HISTORY & MEMORY: How what people, real people (i.e. not academic historians) think about the past has changed over time. And let me tell you, this will rock your world.

Here’s what readers have to say:

I am so captivated by the stories and love Annette’s sense of humor!

The variety of topics covered has been really great.

I love it. I like the humor, the down to earth method, and the asides. Annette, your personality sells it for me, as much as the learning.

I always learn something unexpected when I read your articles. I also introduced my daughter to NBH for use during homeschooling her son.

The depth of storytelling is excellent -- provides both context and character.

The stories are relatively quick reads, entertaining and informative, and introduce me to new topics I never would have read about on my own. I love it!

Terrific variety and verve!

I think it's opened up my horizons. As a British person, I've only ever studied British history; I've really enjoyed the information that NBH has provided about the US, and the links with British history.

Your content has allowed me to realize people are not so much all good or all bad. Things can be grey.

It has allowed me to have great conversations with other readers and to think more deeply about the past.

You even have a friendly guide!

And that guide is me! Me, I tell you! Didn’t see that coming, did you?

I’ll lead you through a big variety of subjects and ideas, hacking away at the academic jungle to reveal its treasures, like a short female Indy!

My qualifications? I’m not just another person who plays a historian on TV. I am a proper historian. I have an actual PhD and publications in early American history. Former tenured professor of early American history and the Atlantic World at Georgia Southern University, where, unlikely though this may sound, I was a member of the Africana Studies faculty.

And all without the academic attitude. Unless provoked.

Oh, and I also write historical time-travel novels for ages 9 and up (read by lots of adults who won’t admit to it), and take non-boring history to students and teachers around America, from Georgia to California.

Annette Laing with students
Downton Style! Annette with teen fans in South Carolina IMAGE: Annette Laing, 2022

Kids? Schools? Some woman in a costume? What does that mean for you?

It means I love being entertaining! I have years of engaging hungover freshmen at 8 a.m. under my belt! I can amuse a hundred nine year olds at once with history! I have spoken to teenagers dozens of times, and lived to tell the tale!

At Non-Boring History, I write about US and British history for readers who are mostly in the US and UK. But EVERYONE is welcome: regardless of whether you are (insert any identity thingy of your choice here) or not. NBH is non-partisan, and very definitely non-shouty, although everyone eventually gets teased a bit. This is why historians are not invited to parties.

We don’t do debates, not even in the comments. This is all about entertaining reading, relaxation, and (okay, yes) thinking. But not the painful kind of thinking you did in high school.

At Non-Boring History, you pick and choose what you want to read, and when. You can see a lot of what I have already written, ready for your reading and listening pleasure, on the home page of Non-Boring History.

Non-Boring History is entertaining, but it ain’t fluff: If anything, the standard textbook narrative that people think is history often is fluff. Ooh, look at me, being all provocative!

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Interested? Want more info? Read the Non-Boring History orientation post here.

Already hooked? Subscribe on the premium plan, monthly or annually, or as a Founder Member, to get all the things (including chatting with me and the other Nonnies in the comments, and FULL ACCESS to my work at NBH) and to support my outreach work to real people.

Annette Laing in Sierra Nevada Mountains, in search of the people of the Gold Rush
Me in the Sierra Nevada mountains, standing by my covered wagon in which I just traveled from Independence, MO on the trail of the Gold Rush. Okay, it was a Honda. Happy now? Photo: Annette Laing, 2018