Why is Victorian History so Dull?
I'm reading a book on Victorian fairy painting now, and this passage is typical: "This was the last painting Dadd painted before he went mad." Apparently Dadd, the most renowned of Victorian fairy painters went Mad and knifed his father to death. He became obsessed with assassinating the Duke of Austria and was eventually confined to Bedlam, where he created some of the most quintessential English fairy paintings. But also, no details of this drama are included. Instead we get a functional descriptor of a painting which I can see perfectly well myself because it's printed on page 125.
But Victorian History is exciting, as the occasional glimpse reveals. George MacDonald Fraser's excellent Flashman series provides a fictionalized (but very well researched) look at several major military events of the era. Bill Bryson's A Brief History of Nearly Everything has many startling portraits of the great scientists of the time. Nevertheless, most of what I've been able to find is dull dull dull.