Home Kings and Queens Come to Life: Retelling History Through Apps

Kings and Queens Come to Life: Retelling History Through Apps

How do you visualize your thoughts? Are your dreams more like a sit-com or a documentary? English historian David Starkey thinks his thoughts and work are best represented through mobile applications after seeing his book, Crown and Country, turned into a rich media app.

The goal of Starkey’s app — Kings and Queens — is to bring his book, and history, to life. If you are familiar with the history of the British monarchy, it is one of the most fascinating tales of intrigue, betrayal, politics and power in the history of the world. The topic was begging to be brought to interactive life. Starkey’s app is not just a splendid way to blend documentary and books but could signal the future of literature by looking into the past.

“It’s a case of the technology catching up with what I wanted to do,” Starkey said in an interview with The Guardian’s Apps blog. “Television is a performance, but apps actually reflect thought processes.”

Starkey told The Guardian that the app, created by Trade Mobile, “reflects the creative processes of a writer.” It gives him the ability to take certain aspects of history and his writing and give them digital life, as opposed to leaving them on the cutting room floor if he were making a documentary.

“All those things you’ve had to level out to make the line of narrative … you can put back in,” Starkey told the Guardian. “I no longer have to take these decisions that involve sacrifice. The reader can arrive at the judgement for themselves.”

Kings and Queens is interactive history at its best. It provides timelines, family trees and lineage and the themes that have emerged in tracking 2,000 years of British royalty. Starkey provides audio and video of the abridged text of his book. Oh, there is also feature footage of the most recent royal wedding between Prince William and Kate Middleton (if you are into that kind of thing).

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