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Volume 64 Issue 3 March 2014

A 1972 essay on women petitioners of the mid-17th century anticipated greater engagement with the political ambitions and private lives of ordinary men and women, says Alice Hunt.

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

Liz James celebrates the Eastern Empire’s artistic heritage and its pivotal role in shaping Europe and the Islamic world of the Middle Ages.

Two centuries before the Swinging Sixties the weakening of social customs caused by the Industrial Revolution led to a modest transformation in people’s sexual behaviour, says Emma Griffin.

G.D. Sheppard uncovers three audacious and previously unknown fabrications by an English sinologist, which threatened to rock Britain’s diplomatic relations with China in the 1930s.

Chris Millington examines a period of bitter political division in France, dating from the 1930s and coinciding with the Nazi Occupation, which raises questions about the nature and roots of French fascism.

At what point did the Scots first see themselves as a distinct kingdom separate but equal to that of England? Dauvit Broun explores the medieval origins of Scottish sovereignty and independence.

Roderick Barman examines the circumstances surrounding Brazil’s entry into the Great War and appraises the conflict’s legacy on the developing nation.

As commemorations of the outbreak of the First World War get underway, Stephen Cooper offers an overview of the often fierce debate among British historians about the conduct and course of the conflict over the last hundred years.

As wealthy Russians continue to take up residence in London’s smartest districts, Helen Szamuely reflects on the contributions to Anglo-Russian relations of those diplomats who paved the way from the 18th century onwards.

Though he didn't invent it, the guillotine was named for a French doctor, who died on March 26th, 1814.

The archaeologist Howard Carter died on March 2nd, 1939.

A proto-mutiny took place in Ireland on March 20th, 1914.

A great historian of Poland and a survey of British Intelligence were among this year’s winners.

Life in a First World War field hospital is depicted in a new exhibition.

Hungary’s authoritarian government is rewriting the nation’s troubled past.

In 1987 Pakistan was widely regarded as being economically ahead of its much larger neighbour, India. Pakistan’s GDP was $390 per head compared with India’s $260, its growth rate seven per cent against India’s four per cent. Pakistan had 450,000 cars compared with India’s 1.5 million, despite having one-eighth of India’s population. Its road, transport and telephone services were better than India’s, where a morning could be required to make a phone call; colour television was common in Pakistan’s slums.

The year 2013 will be remembered for the revelations of the incredible scale of Internet surveillance maintained by the National Security Agency in the US and GCHQ in Britain.

The founder of the modern Zionist movement, Theodor Herzl, was politically active for less than nine years before his death at 44 in 1904. Shlomo Avineri’s book analyses Herzl’s diary entries and reconstructs a succession of diplomatic disappointments in the corridors of European power. More often it was ridicule, laced with antisemitic innuendo. ‘Do you think that the Jews are going to give up their stock exchange and follow you?’, proclaimed the German Chancellor. ‘The common Jews will’, responded Herzl.

Adrian Tinniswood’s new book is really two works in one.

Maps of Paradise is a highly readable yet deeply learned journey into how ‘humankind has yearned for a timeless elsewhere’, searching for ‘perfect bliss, remote either in time or in space’. Utopia is just one element in this search. Alessandro Scafi’s main interest is how the Christian concept of Paradise is shown on medieval mappae-mundi through to the 16th-century mapping of new worlds and the Lutheran Reformation.

Nationalist movements, by their very nature, claim to be exclusive, anchored to a specific place through shared links of blood or soil or past experience. Yet, as the histories written about them repeatedly show us, the processes that produce and drive them are usually similar if not completely identical.

On a visit to Moscow in 1839 the Marquis de Custine found in the Kremlin ‘an architecture that has no connection with the wants of modern civilisation: a heritage of fabulous ages, a gaol, a palace, a sanctuary, a bulwark against the nation’s foes, a bastille against the nation, a prop of tyrants, a prison of peoples’. Such evocations of the fortress remain eminently recognisable today. Perhaps more than any other building in the world the Kremlin is synonymous with state power and national identity.