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Volume 63 Issue 4 April 2013

We downplay terrible acts from the distant past, in a way that we never would when considering more recent crimes, says Tim Stanley.

Roger Hudson explains a moment of panic on the streets of the newly liberated French capital.

The relationship between an ‘unquiet past’ and the concerns of the present has been a key feature of recent engagements with the Spanish Civil War, as Mary Vincent explains.

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

Carol Dyhouse questions some of the assertions made by John Gardiner in his 1999 article about the Victorians.

The founder of the Baha'i religious movement proclaimed his vision on April 21st, 1863.

The Spanish explorer landed in the New World on April 3rd, 1513.

While Antony and Cleopatra have been immortalised in history and in popular culture, their offspring have been all but forgotten. Yet their daughter, Cleopatra Selene, became an important ruler in her own right. Jane Draycott tells her story.

The great political philosopher was born on April 5th, 1588.

Exhuming historical characters makes for dramatic headlines and can seem a great way to get easy answers, but we should think twice before disturbing the remains of dead monarchs, says Justin Pollard.

John Gillingham challenges an idea, recently presented in History Today, that the Anglo-Saxon King Egbert was responsible for the naming of England.

The Oxford Dodo has defined our idea of the creature. When alive, the bird was displayed in London as part of a kind of urban freak show. In death it featured in Alice in Wonderland. Charles Norton reveals what became of the last dodo.

In 1943 a train was stopped by resisters as it travelled from Flanders to Auschwitz. Althea Williams tells the story of a survivor.

Graham A. MacDonald reappraises the ideas and impact of the 20th-century political thinker, Michael Oakeshott.

Michelle Liebst looks at how the career of the great explorer of Africa reflects the wider failings of Victorian imperialism.

President Obama has more in common with Dwight D. Eisenhower than any other of his predecessors, says Michael Burleigh.

Yvonne Sherratt explores the ways in which Adolf Hitler attempted to appropriate the ideas of some of Germany’s greatest thinkers during his brief incarceration in 1924.

Derek Wilson looks at Henry Tudor’s long period of exile and asks what influence it had on his exercise of power following his seizure of the English throne in 1485.

Of the many immigrants from the United Kingdom who took up arms in the war, only a small number were English. Daniel Clarke explores the experiences of those who served.

In 1963 the great and prolific historian Charles Boxer created a stir when he published the seemingly innocuously entitled Race Relations in the Portuguese Colonial Empire, 1415-1825. In any other historical moment such a work might have quietly wound its way to library shelves, but the early 1960s were no ordinary time. Not least in Portugal’s empire, where anti-colonial national liberation movements had moved into high gear.

Governing the World sets itself the task of explaining why the Anglo-Americans have shown such interest in global political institutions. Why at the height of their powers, Mazower asks, did first the British and then the Americans pursue an international policy rooted in international cooperation? The British invested their power in the League of Nations after the First World War and the Americans in the UN during and after the Second.

Although it is often said that in mid-1940 Britain stood alone in the war, this is far from the truth. Alongside the beleaguered island were the human and natural resources of the Empire and the Dominions, which included a large Indian army and eventually half a million men from sub-Saharan Africa.

As might be expected in an age of globalisation, the theme of cultural encounters is attracting more and more historians, not to mention anthropologists and sociologists. What happens to culture when groups with very different traditions meet, fight, or coexist in relative peace? Do cultures mix as in a soup, or do they clash like armies? Can they be translated like texts, or hybridised like plants?

Sir David Cannadine is a distinguished historian; his new book should make him famous. Now at the summit of his career he brings a message about a subject on which, he tells us, he has been brooding for a long time, a message that only a veteran and learned historian could deliver convincingly. He has something to say to his profession and says it well, but he is really aiming at a much wider audience: politicians, social scientists, religious leaders, public intellectuals, schoolchildren and all thoughtful citizens.

This book is a significant addition to the literature on the international relations of the Middle East in the 1960s, in particular Egyptian foreign policy and the Yemen Civil War. Ferris grounds his analysis in debates around Nasserism and the Arab Cold War. Briefly charting the backdrop to the Free Officers’ coup in Yemen, he then embarks on a detailed analysis of the Egyptian decision to intervene, setting this in the context not only of the Egyptian domestic situation and internal politics, but also of regional and international relations.

Published to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Profumo Affair, this is one of the best books I have read on postwar Britain. It is written with verve and a deftly personal touch, qualities which refresh a scandal that rocked the Establishment and entered folk memory as the moment when deference died and post-Victorian Britain was born.

When a London gentleman, Thomas Day, was rejected after proposing marriage to his best friend’s sister, he decided to create for himself ‘The Perfect Wife’. He had inherited a fortune from his father and could afford this indulgence.