Volume 63 Issue 10 October 2013

The Parisian idol died on October 11th, 1963.

The last Vietnamese emperor was born on October 22nd, 1913.

The great humanitarian organisation was founded on October 29th, 1863.

As a new translation of the writings of the ‘father of history’ is published, Paul Cartledge looks at the methods of enquiry that make the Greek master such a crucial influence on historians today.

A selection of readers' correspondence with the editor, Paul Lay.

Hannah Greig reassesses a ground-breaking article, which proposed new ways of understanding Georgian radicalism.

Roger Hudson examines a photograph of July 1909, which captures the early 20th-century vogue for balloon racing.

Martin Evans explains the aims and origins of France’s national museum of immigration.

The army has been a player in the affairs of Egypt for at least 5,000 years, says Tom Holland.

October 2013 marks the 70th anniversary of the mass breakout from Sobibór death camp. Althea Williams recalls an extraordinary event that is today largely forgotten.

Richard Barber examines recently unearthed sources to construct a convincing scenario of Edward III’s inspired victory over the French in 1346.

Medicine in early modern Britain is commonly perceived as crude and ineffective. But for all its shortcomings, says Alun Withey, there was no shortage of medical practitioners.

This month marks the 40th anniversary of one of television’s greatest history documentary series. Taylor Downing celebrates The World at War.

As the dispute continues between Spain and Britain over the jurisdiction of the waters around Gibraltar, Ben Wilson explains the Rock’s role in British history since its acquisition in 1713.

Imperial Britain appealed to the men of its colonies to come to the aid of the Mother Country during the First World War. Many did so but their contribution has not always been honoured, says Stephen Bourne.

Jonathan Conlin finds a surprising story of Anglo-French exchange behind the frothing petticoats and high kicks of this most Parisian of dances.

The year 1913 marked a resurgence for the Russian empire as the Romanov dynasty celebrated its 300th anniversary and the economy boomed. Had it not been for the First World War the country’s fortunes might have taken a very different turn, says Charles Emmerson.

Before 1914 there were many Borussophiles and after 1945 there were even more Borussophobes – people who loathed Prussia and thought all Europe’s ills (or most of them) derived from the influence of this medium-sized state, which had officially heaved its last sigh in 1871. There had been the First World War and then the Second and both of them, they said, were caused by Prussian ‘militarism’.

Although Catherine de Medici’s name is well known, many of the women of the French Renaissance court may be unfamiliar to British readers. Yet in this fascinating and lucid book Kathleen Wellman argues that the role played by the queens and royal mistresses of France between 1444 and 1599 was absolutely pivotal in the development of the politics and culture of the court and far more important than has hitherto been acknowledged.

Caspar Friedrich’s picture of a man alone on a summit is a well-known Romantic image. The interdependence of climbers on a mountain, however, attached to the same rope and reliant on each other for safety and wellbeing, destroys any notion that mountain climbing is an individual activity; rather the reverse – the epitome of teamwork. Similarly, on a larger scale, mountaineering is not detached from politics and culture. One of the major claims of Peter Hansen’s book is that mountaineering and modernity occurred simultaneously.

This well-illustrated volume reveals the vital role poster art and design played in recruitment during the early years of the First World War, before the introduction of conscription. James Taylor examines the creation of Alfred Leete’s celebrated Kitchener finger-pointing cartoon, explodes some myths and charts the success of its ‘easy-to-remember slogan and simplistic adaptable design’, both of which have been duly copied across the world again and again for numerous purposes.

In the parish church of Bottesford, Leicestershire, stands the tomb of Francis Manners, 6th Earl of Rutland, bearing a lapidary accusation that takes us straight back to the darkest anxieties of Jacobean England. The inscription claims that ‘wicked practise & sorcerye’ had resulted in the deaths of the earl’s two infant sons, a relic that provides Tracy Borman with the beginning (and the end) of her engaging yet flawed account of the witches of Belvoir Castle.

There are few national myths as enduring as those surrounding Churchill’s legendary, wartime speeches. They are frequently credited with keeping the fighting spirit of the British people alive and of inspiring the nation to battle on through its ‘Finest Hour’. So Richard Toye appears to take on the mantle of an angry iconoclast by arguing that the impact they had at the time was far more mixed than posterity allows for. Toye finds many people who had no time at all for what they saw as the posturing and rhetoric of an old-fashioned aristocrat.