Candidate Profile

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History - Military
Peter Harrington, a military historian and archaeologist, is Curator of the Anne S.K. Brown Military Collection in the John Hay Library at Brown University where he has worked for over 34 years.

A native of Manchester, England, he studied at London, Edinburgh, Simmons College and Brown, and has lived and worked in the United States since 1981. His graduate thesis at Edinburgh was on the neolithic and early bronze age settlement of Western Scotland and North-East Ireland.

His research over the past three decades has focused on artists and images of war, and for many years he taught a distance learning graduate course on the subject. Peter's other area of research is Conflict Archaeology.

He has authored a number of articles and books including British Artists and War: The face of battle in paintings and prints 1700-1914; Queen Victoria's Army in Color: The Military Paintings of Orlando Norie; William Simpson’s Afghanistan: Travels of a Special Artist and Antiquarian during the Second Afghan War, 1878-1879; The Castles of Henry VIII; and English Civil War Archaeology. His latest book, Experiences of a Young British Officer in India 1845-1849, was published in 2017.

Peter has been a guest speaker on many alumni trips and cruises, and presents frequent talks at conferences and meetings. He has also curated many exhibitions including two recent art shows commemorating the centenary of World War One.

1. "The French in Indochina: A brief military history"
South-East Asia has been the scene on many military conflicts over the centuries as different nations and cultures have fought for the right to occupy the lands of Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. Peter Harrington traces recent wars in this region beginning in the early 19th century up to the Vietnam War which ended in 1975.

2. "The Ho Chi Minh Trail"
Peter Harrington provide a fascinating insight into the endeavors by the North Vietnamese and Vietcong to supply their forces during the Vietnam War. This involved many ingenious plans to move vast supplies to the South hidden from view.

3. "Carved in Stone: The Bas-Reliefs at Angkor"
The carvings on the temples at Angkor War and Angkor Thom are the subject of this fascinating talk by Peter Harrington focusing on the various themes both factual and mythical in the ancient Hindu sculptures


4. "Welcome to the Austro-Hungarian Empire"
At its heyday, the Austro-Hungarian Empire covered a vast swath of central Europe and incorporated many different ethnic groups. In this illuminating talk by Peter Harrington, we will discover the history behind the empire and the struggles it went through to stay unified until its end in 1916.

5. "1848: The Year of the Revolutions"
Europe in 1848 was ablaze in revolution. From Paris to Budapest, societies rose up against the authorities leading to bloodshed on a massive scale. A precursor of the Arab Spring, it heralded in some reforms but in most cases, the revolts were put down with a heavy hand and the repercussions had a lasting effect for the remainder of the 19th century.


6. “'A River Runs Through' – Europe and the Rhine River"
Sailing down the great River Rhine, one is struck not only by the splendor of its landscapes but also the history that clings to the river edge. Peter Harrington explores this history and the various myths and legends that have grown up around the river.

7. "The Battles for the Rhine Bridges, 1944-1945"
Sailing the Rhine River amidst its peace and tranquility, it is difficult to imagine the tremendous effort it took for the allied armies to cross the river and purse the Germans in a final effort to end World War Two. Peter Harrington will examine the various operations to capture the Rhine, the destruction of the bridges, the capture of the bridge at Remagen, and the final push towards Berlin.


8. "Spanish Wars through the eyes of Goya and Picasso"
In this fascinating visual account, Peter Harrington describes the impact of war on the art of Goya and Picasso, especially focusing on The Disaster of War series by the former, and the magnificent painting of Guernica by the latter.

9. "The Bayeux Tapestry: An Introduction"
The Bayeux Tapestry is a unique record of an historical event, chronicling as it does the invasion of England in 1066 by the Norman king, William culminating in the Battle of Hastings. Peter Harrington will unravel the tapestry highlighting some of the important vignettes of the Norman Conquest.

10. "Operation Overlord 1944: The Artists’ Perspective"
While images of D-Day are familiar through the countless newsreels and photographs, what is less know are the various paintings and water-colors created by soldier-artists on the spot. These capture an immediacy and a sensibility of the impact of the invasion and the preparations that preceded it.


11. "Early man in Scotland"
Peter Harrington traces the early occupation by humans in the area now know as Scotland. From its early mesolithic origins, he traces the activities of neolithic groups with their massive stone tombs, the succeeding bronze age peoples who constructed massive megalithic circles possibly as calendars, the huge hillforts of the iron age peoples from Europe, and the attempt by Rome to subdue Caledonia.

12. "The Scottish Soldier: An Illustrated History"
Some of the greatest soldiers in British history have come from Scotland, and the men of that country were considered some of the finest to ever serve. In this highly visual talk, Peter Harrington outlines the military history of the region from its early times fighting the Romans up to the World Wars.

13. "The Prehistory of Scotland"
Once the final ice sheets had retreated, humans began to enter the region we know as Scotland, often by land but also by sea. They left behind an array of outstanding megalithic monuments and fortified sites which Peter Harrington will describes in a series of fascinating images.

14. "Later history of Scotland"
In this talk, Peter Harrington will outline some of the singular moments in Scottish history from the later middle ages until the 19th century, with glimpses of Mary Queen of Scots, Bonnie Prince Charlie, and Queen Victoria

15. "Jeopardy: Great Scots"
Using the popular game-show as it theme, Peter Harrington focuses on great Scots through the centuries, whether they were kings and queens, soldiers or politicians, poets and writers. Passengers will participate in the game to test their knowledge.


16. "Operation Torch: The Allied Invasion of North Africa in 1942"
The successful invasions of Sicily and Normandy in WW2 would not have been possible had it not been for the allied invasion of Morocco and Algeria late in 1942. This provided useful information on seaborne landings. Peter Harrington describes the planning and outcome of Torch.

17. "The French Foreign Legion: Truth, Myths and Mysteries"
Any visitor to north-east Africa will have visions of deserts and lonely military outposts manned by the like of Beau Geste. Peter Harrington untangles the myths from the facts surrounding the French Foreign Legion in Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia.

18. '“Here’s looking at you kid”; Casablanca – the Making of a legend'
The movie Casablanca is now considered one of the great classics of Hollywood. Premiering in November 1942, it is still as popular today as it was then. Yet what was the background behind the movie? And how was the movie made? Peter Harrington explores this fascinating history.


19. "War and Peace: The Delhi Experience, 1857 and 1903"
Peter Harrington describes two fascinating and contrasting periods in the history of the great Indian capital. The siege of Delhi during the great mutiny of 1857 was a watershed in Indian and British military history in the sub-continent. In stark contrast was the Delhi Durbar on 1903, the great celebration for the coronation of King Edward VII.

20. "Indian Art: Treasures from the Anne S.K. Brown Military Collection"
Indian miniature painting caught the imagination of many western travelers in the 19th century, creating a whole industry in the commercial production of India art for the west. In this highly visual talk, Peter Harrington brings into focus some of this art as well as other pictures that were collected by westerners, some of which is now at Brown University.

21. "Early Photographers in India"
As India was opened to the wider world in the 19th century through exploration and scientific examination, photographers were drawn to the majesty of its landscapes and ancient forts and temples. Peter Harrington explores some of these photographers and their work.


22. "Marlborough, Blenheim…and Brown?"
In preparation for a visit to Blenheim Palace, Peter Harrington describes the background to the Duke of Marlborough, his wars on the continent, and the rewards he garnered including the Palace. Particular attention will be given to the various sets of tapestries that were commissioned by the Duke and several of his generals, one of which hangs today at Brown University

23. "The End of the Country House"
Britain is know for its iconic country houses and mansions such as Blenheim, Castle Howard and Chatsworth. Yet, for every surviving house, many others have been demolished or allowed to fall into ruin. Peter Harrington explains the various reasons behind this process.

24. "Henry VIII and His Castles"
England's 'scepter'd isle' has looked upon the English Channel to protect itself over the last millennium. Napoleon, Kaiser Wilhelm and Adolf Hitler all had designs on the country. When Henry VIII broke with Rome, France and Spain planed an invasion. To counter this, Henry had a string of castles constructed along the south and east coasts to defend against such attempts. Peter Harrington explores these fascinating fortifications.

25. "Preparations for D-Day"
It is difficult to imagine the massive preparations that occurred in south-west England in 1944 amidst the rural tranquility that meets the eye today. Yet, virtually every port along the southern coasts were assembling points for the invasion, and the surrounding towns and villages had to adjust to the onslaught of thousands of allied soldiers. In this fascinating talk, Peter Harrington describes the impact on the region.

26. "Smugglers and Smuggling in South-West England 1760-1830"
The peaceful coasts of south-west England hide a secret past, one that kept many people in business of the late 18th and early 19th century. While smuggling was illegal, many saw it as a necessity. In this fascinating talk, we will explore this industry and the myths and legends that grew up around it as evidenced in such films as Jamaica Inn and the Poldark series.

27."Archaeology of the Irish Sea Provinces"
Separated by the Irish Sea, the regions that border it developed and experienced both differences and similarities in prehistory, from the Mesolithic (circa 10,000BC) period onward. Peter Harrington draws out such similarities in the various surviving monuments as well as the differences.


28. "Scenes of Old Saint Petersburg and Russia"
Considered by many to be the Paris of the North, Saint Petersburg is an architectural dream. Founded by Peter the Great, it was the jewel in the Romanov's crown. Using original 19th century prints and water-colors, Peter Harrington describes the various buildings in and around the city, sprinkled with folk images of Russians enjoying winter sports, parades, and their daily routines.

29. "Artist of the Russian Revolution: John Vladimirov"
Considered by the Bolshevik authorities to be a loyal subject of the revolution, Vladimirov led a double life. While turning out propaganda images for the government, he surreptitiously records the brutalities of the revolution and the subsequent civil war. In this fascinating account, Peter Harrington describes his artwork using original sources to illustrate his talk.

30. "Coronations of the Tsars"

31. "The Retreat from Moscow: A soldier's sketches"
Christian Faber du Faur was a Westphalian officer serving in Napoleon's army during the ill-fated campaign in Russia in 1812. During the disastrous retreat, he made sketches of the scenes around him. Later, his water-colors were published. Peter Harrington will discuss his art using original and printed examples.


32. "Menorca's Archaeological Heritage"
Menorca's Talayotic Culture was a unique megalithic era dating from the Iron Age into the Roman period. Over 1,500 sites dot this small island presenting some of the finest prehistorical stone monuments of the Mediterranean. Using photographs taken on the spot, Peter Harrington describes these fascinating archaeological sites

33. "Ancient Malta"
The Neolithic Temples are unique to the island of Malta and represent some of the finest stone structures of the prehistoric period. In this fascinating account, Peter Harrington illustrates these outstanding megalithic structures and discusses their builders and their possible functions.


34. "Europe at War in the 17th century: The Great Northern War"


35. "Football: The beautiful game" (for the 2010 World Cup)
Football, or soccer as it is know in the United States, is considered the greatest sport in the world. Yet for many Americans, it holds very little interest beyond high school sports. In this fascinating talk, Peter Harrington charts the development of the game, is many stars over the years, and the World Cup.
AHI Travel Mekong Navigator "Jewels of Vietnam and Cambodia" (land and cruise) 12 nights Sailing from My Tho April 23, 2017

AHI Travel M.S. Amadeus Silver "Cruise the Face of Europe" 14 nights Sailing from Budapest June 24, 2016

Gohagen M.S. Le Boreal "European Coastal Civilizations" 8 nights Sailing from Lisbon April 24, 2013

Gohagen M.S. Amadeus Diamond "The Great Journey through Europe" 10 nights Sailing from Amsterdam July 2, 2010

Swan Hellenic M.S. Minerva II M513 " A Story of Islands" 14 nights Sailing from Dover June 25, 2005

Swan Hellenic M.S. Minerva II "British Isles Cruise" 14 nights Sailing from Dover, August 16, 2003
The following recent Cruise History has been recorded for this candidate.
Viking Sun SU180505 British Isles Explorer 14 Greenwich, London Saturday, May 5, 2018