Philip Gibson is a teacher and author of over thirty books on ESL and historical fiction. He has taught and lived in (in order): England, Spain, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Hong Kong, Japan and Laos.
In 1991, he took up a position in Laos, met and married a Lao lady and now lives with his wife and two teenage boys on their small farm on the forested banks of the Nam Ngum River (tributary of the Mekong) about 25 miles from the capital city of Vientiane. Philip is a lover of history, especially modern history, and his main writing focus now is to continue to produce historical works written in the unique form of social media feeds.
Here is how Philip describes how the idea for how the Hashtag Histories series developed:
“During the Libyan Civil War in 2011, I was following the dramatic unfolding events closely. However, it was difficult to find up to date information on the regular media, so I turned to social media sites such as Twitter where I could receive minute by minute updates on the unfolding conflict. Receiving updates of unfolding events in that format was very much like watching the situation developing in real time reported by the actual warring participants, as well as live posts by journalists on the ground and up to date analysis by commentators and politicians in multiple locations.
While a great deal of the social media posts were repetitious or inaccurate, as is often the case with sites like Twitter, it was clear that if all the information could be cross-checked and the dross and repetition edited out, what would remain would be an engaging, accurate and detailed account of the real events. It would be an account with more detail, accuracy and real-time immediacy than any produced by the more conventional media.
So I set about constructing a day-by-day account of the final days of Hitler’s Third Reich as if the participants in World War II had been able to post their thoughts and actions through social media sites. The result was an extremely readable and informative account of the main events which was very well received by members of a history discussion site of which I am an active member (www.armchairgeneral.com).
When the day by day account of Hitler’s last days was completed, I was encouraged to compile the daily account into book form and publish it under the name ‘#Berlin45: The Final Days of the Third Reich’.
The rest, as they say, is… history.”