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In the first of an ocassional series on classic history books, Daniel Swift revisits Paul Fussell's The Great War and Modern Memory

In this episode of the podcast, the American documentary filmmaker Ken Burns talks to Paul Lay about his latest documentary, The Roosevelts: An Intimate History.

Visited by the Dutch and French, but untouched by a British keel until 1827, the strange, antique land of Western Australia, then inhabited only by Stone Age men, has grown to see a modern state arise around the haunts of the Black Swan. By W. Charnley.

W. Charnley describes how, on their route to the East Indies in the seventeenth century, the Dutch first came into dramatic contact with the mysterious Great South Land that is now Australia.

For nearly a hundred years, travellers and archaeologists have been investigating the mysterious ruins of Angkor. Today, writes Michael Sullivan, much of the mystery has been dispelled; but these relics of a vanished civilization still preserve their beauty and dignity.

Although “renowned for their interest in profits and dividends,” the Directors of the East India Company encouraged their servants to explore the field of natural history; Mildred Archer describes how British naturalists, when recording their researches, often employed a staff of gifted Indian artists.

Henry McAleavy describes how the last Chinese imperial dynasty owed its origins to a petty Manchurian chieftain, Nurhaci, who revolted against his Chinese overlords, whose son invaded and conquered China, and whose grandson occupied the Dragon Throne.

In October 1860, writes E.W.R. Lumby, a humane and liberal-minded British emissary felt obliged to order an act of vandalism in Peking.

John Raymond assesses the life and career of one modern history's “unswerving inflexibles”.

The Land of Zanj included the coastal regions of the modern colonies of Kenya and Tanganyika. Here, writes C.R. Boxer, the Portuguese, first among Europeans, came into contact with the Arab-African civilization that flourished on the edges of the Indian Ocean.

Since Sir Rowland Hill evolved the Penny Post in 1839, C.W. Hill describes how postage stamps all over the world have come to play a part in recording their countries’ history.

Henry D'Avigdor-Goldsmid describes an insider trading scandal that embroiled the House of Commons in 1912.

The leader of the British Communist party, in reminiscence, described 1919 as ‘a period of golden opportunities’ that were lost by left-wing disarray. By David Mitchell.

One of Nelson’s proteges, William Hoste, patrolled the Adriatic Sea at a time when its coasts were largely under Napoleon’s control, as P.C. McFarlan writes.

‘Why not seize Malta?’ Napoleon asked Talleyrand, ‘We could be masters of the Mediterranean’. By Christopher Hibbert. 

Harold Kurtz describes how for nearly ten years, in two spells of office, the Republican Fouché was the virtual head of the internal government of France under the increasing Traditionalism of Napoleon’s rule.

Former terrorist, responsible for some of the bloodiest excesses of the Revolution, Joseph Fouché, thanks to his intellect, his ruthlessness, his political flair and his unequalled “knowledge of men and circumstances,” lived on to play an important role under both Napoleon I and Louis XVIII. By Harold Kurtz.

Between the Revolution of 1830 and the fall of the Second Empire, writes Michael M. Biddiss, Daumier applied his vigorous ironic gifts to the social and political scene.

Only in Spain did Anarchism become a true mass movement, sinking deep roots into the world of industrial labour and rural poverty. During the Spanish Civil War, writes George Woodcock, its great trade union, the CNT, had a membership of two million workers.

In 1912 the Manchu Emperor abdicated in Peking. Henry McAleavy describes how there began a confused period in Chinese history during which both the Nationalist Kuomintang and the Communist party were founded.

Fifty years before the great struggle with the Japanese on the frontiers of India, writes Antony Brett-James, Manipur in 1891 was the scene of a gallant Victorian action.

When Great Britain entered the First World War, writes N.G. Garson, memories of their struggle for independence were still fresh in the minds of many Afrikaners; rather than accept its decision to follow the Empire’s lead, they took up arms against their own government.

David Woodward describes how the Confederacy's hope of continuing to exist depended upon gaining command of the sea and of vital coastal and inland waters.


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