I'm Dr Brett Holman, a historian living in Melbourne, Australia. My research interests primarily revolve around the place of aviation in British society and culture in the first half of the 20th century. In part this means trying to understand how the British people responded to the threat of strategic bombing, the fabled 'knock-out blow from the air', as well as how they responded to the reality of bombing by German Zeppelins and Gothas during the First World War. I am also very interested in aerial theatre, the spectacular use of aircraft in flight as entertainment, for example in air displays such as the RAF Display at Hendon in the 1920s and 1930s. I'm also a partner investigator on the ARC Linkage Project LP160101232, ‘Heritage of the air: how aviation transformed Australia’.
A book based on my PhD thesis, entitled The Next War in the Air: Britain's Fear of the Bomber, 1908-1941, was published by Ashgate in 2014 (hardback) and Routledge in 2017 (paperback). My peer-reviewed publications cluster around the history of: airpower policy and strategy (the international air force concept, reprisal bombing, the convertibility of airliners into bombers); air panics (1935, phantom airships, mystery aeroplanes, secret Zeppelin bases, air raids and conspiracy theories); and aerial theatre (the militarisation of air displays, the Royal Air Force Display at Hendon, mock air raids). My writing for popular audiences has appeared in BBC History Magazine, Wartime, Fortean Times and Flightpath.
This website began as a place for me to organise thoughts and materials for my PhD in the School of Historical Studies at the University of Melbourne which I started in August 2005, graduating in August 2009. I can also be found at Twitter, Academia.edu and Google Scholar Citations.
Before becoming an academic, I worked in IT at the University of Melbourne. Previously, I trained as an astrophysicist, obtaining a Master of Science by research from the School of Physics at the University of Melbourne in 1998.