Thursday, September 17, 2009

The story behind the book - PS

Just to add to Yu-Mei's last post, the story behind the book was not quite so smooth as that, let's be honest. Even though there was all this wonderful material left on the cutting-room floor from NMS, we didn't actually intend to write a 'new' history of Singapore, originally. As I remember, we proposed to NMS a mere companion volume to the History Gallery that would flesh out the Companion scripts a little and have lots of nice pics – a kind of gallery guide, a bit like an Insight Guide or the Asian Civilisations Museum A-Z Guide.

I remember at the time, illustrious co-author, assuring you we'd be done in six months! Well, then someone gave me Simon Schama's Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution for Christmas (the nice two-volume Folio Society edition with lots of nice pics) and having seen how it worked, and fuelled by new ambition, we went back to pitch a quite different book.

I didn't realise then that it would take another two years to write. (Remember, I apologised on more than one occasion about what we'd got ourselves into). But history called and it's all done now – a 450-page blockbuster, which if you don't read it you can always use as a burglar deterrent!

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