In His White Uniform: Accidental Gods

Rosemary Hill, 10 February 2022

It was around 1977 that Prince Philip became aware that he was a god. It had happened three years earlier when the Britannia moored off the coast of Aneityum (in what is now Vanuatu). Jack Naiva, one of...

Read More

They didn’t mean me: African European History

Imaobong Umoren, 10 February 2022

When people talked about ‘we’ or ‘us’, they didn’t mean me. And when I looked in the mirror, I saw it really was true – I looked completely different from the...

Read More

Saint Boniface used a manuscript to shield himself when attacked by robbers; the slashes it suffered make it a relic of his martyrdom. Pages of many books are marred by dirty fingerprints, wine stains...

Read More

England was certainly an oddity to her friends and enemies on the Continent. ‘There was no school in the world where one could learn how to negotiate with the English,’ the Spanish envoy Íñigo Vélez...

Read More

Ursula Kuczynski vowed to be better than her mother, an artist whose main talent was for self-regard. However, she found being a good parent harder than being a good communist, and when she had to choose...

Read More

Divine intervention was not claimed for the duel. At stake was the question of honour. A gentleman could have any number of differences with his peers without coming to blows, but when his honour was sullied...

Read More

No Innovations in My Time: George III

Ferdinand Mount, 16 December 2021

George’s defenders cannot have it both ways. Either they take the king whole, hot and strong and stubborn to the last; or they have to sideline him as an endearing nullity. To present him as a great...

Read More

In 1638 Thomas Hobbes advised his aristocratic tutee Charles Cavendish ‘to avoid all offensive speech, not only open reviling but also that Satirical way of nipping’ that young noblemen were prone...

Read More

Peace without Empire

Perry Anderson, 2 December 2021

Gradual changes have already started to act as counterforces to the follies of unbridled speculation, fears of uncontrolled immigration and contagions of civil war. For Stella Ghervas, balance of power...

Read More

Short Cuts: Rewritten History

Richard J. Evans, 2 December 2021

‘We won’t allow people to censor our past,’ Robert Jenrick, then communities secretary, said in January. ‘It is our privilege in this country to have inherited a deep,...

Read More

Get your story straight: Soviet Nationhood

Sheila Fitzpatrick, 2 December 2021

The territory of the USSR closely matched that of the imperial Russia of the tsars’ empire, with Russian still the lingua franca and a major Russian city its capital. It was natural to ask whether this...

Read More

Imperial Narcotic

Neal Ascherson, 18 November 2021

The Empire Windrush, bringing eight hundred Caribbean passengers to Britain, docked at Tilbury on 21 June 1948, while the Nationality Act was still going through Parliament. Here again, myth has fogged...

Read More

Greek Hearts and Diadems: Antigonid Rule

James Romm, 18 November 2021

Antigonus’ grandfather had compared Athens to a lighthouse for its effect on public opinion in Greece. For more than forty years the Antigonids had hoped to win the city’s endorsement, and had at times...

Read More

Loose Talk: Atomic Secrets

Steven Shapin, 4 November 2021

When the Manhattan Project was launched in 1942, the military was fully on board and totally in charge. The army knew all about secrecy in weapons development and how to ensure it: people were vetted;...

Read More

The Scissors Gap: China takes it slow

Rebecca E. Karl, 21 October 2021

The many young economists who devoted themselves to preventing shock therapy fell from power in 1989 when Zhao Ziyang was ousted: like Zhao, their support for the Tiananmen Square protesters had political...

Read More

Powers of Darkness: Made by Free Hands

Michael Taylor, 21 October 2021

Having announced to the world that they traded only in legitimate produce, and with idealistic shoppers content to pay more for goods made by free hands, merchants on both sides of the Atlantic found establishing...

Read More

Great Sums of Money: Swingeing Taxes

Ferdinand Mount, 21 October 2021

The new fad for ‘levelling up’ doesn’t show any weakening of the Tory mindset. On the contrary, it seems that the levelling is to be achieved almost exclusively by the brilliance and munificence...

Read More

The lush comic hip-hop of Megan Thee Stallion and Cardi B illustrates the core element of Old Comedy that is most often obscured in contemporary Anglophone translations – the flow. Aristophanes, like...

Read More