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Volume 67 Issue 4 April 2017

In the first official games, which began on April 6th, 1896, 241 athletes from 14 countries competed in 43 events.

Angered by his native country’s rush towards western-style modernisation, the acclaimed Japanese author committed a shocking act of protest. Alexander Lee reveals the journey that led to such an extreme conclusion.

Perhaps the greatest disaster to ever befall humanity, the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 is strangely overlooked. Laura Spinney examines our shared memory of that and earlier tragedies.  

Kate Wiles on Auldjo’s artistic map of Vesuvius across 200 year of major eruptions.

APRIL 11th, 1911 

What is the soul, where does it come from and where does it go when we die? Such questions have continued to fascinate since the early modern period. The answers that were produced were never decisive, but were often surprisingly creative, as Richard Sugg demonstrates.

As Britain got hooked on tobacco, smoking paraphernalia became ubiquitous. Items such as tobacco boxes provide an insight into the anxieties and aspirations of the early modern psyche, says Angela McShane.

Despite its popularity in France, the political memoir took a while to get going in Britain. It was Lord Clarendon’s epic attempt to make sense of the turbulent 17th century that slowly set the ball rolling, according to Paul Seaward.

In the absence of a European democratic model, the Founding Fathers turned to the apparently perfect state of the Iroquois Five Nations as a template for a federal United States, combining the best of both worlds, writes C.K. Ballatore.

Viking sagas tell of conflict and heroic voyages but are prone to fantasy and exaggeration. How accurate are their scant accounts of the treatment of those injured in battle? Brian Burfield examines the elusive practice of Viking medicine.

Few episodes in the history of the British Labour movement have been as mythologised as that in which six Dorset farm labourers were shipped to Australia for their trade union activities. But, as Roland Quinault shows, their story is more complex and revealing than the myths allow.

Iran, despite its conquest by the armies of Islam, retained its own Persian language and much of its culture. Khodadad Rezakhani examines the process by which a Zoroastrian empire became part of the Islamic world.  

The Hydra, a magazine produced by shell shock patients, was pioneering as a mental health care treatment.

The maxim ‘show don’t tell’ is often forgotten when film-makers confront historical horrors, argues Suzannah Lipscomb, as two recent cinema releases demonstrate.

The ideas set out by Martin Luther sparked a reformation in the idea of authority itself. 

Most books on the machinery of government tend to be dull, but this book is an exception because Anthony Seldon has long experience as an educator...

FOR WHITEHALL’S hottest reading matter, it must be hard to beat ‘Old Stripey’. This is the nickname for the blue and red striped box in which the...

Another history of the Raj invites comparison with its two most distinguished predecessors, Penderel Moon’s The British Conquest &...

In 1700, India, then ruled by the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, an autocratic religious zealot, boasted 24.4 per cent of global GDP: a share almost...

I admire the chutzpah of this book. At a time when discussion of Native American history is hotly contested as never before, J.C.H. King has...

Linda Porter’s lively and engaging study begins with the first meeting between Charles I and his Bourbon bride Henrietta Maria, youngest daughter...

This is a clever and important book, but it is not an easy read. Scurvy provides an intellectual and cultural history of a condition that...

An illuminating and scholarly study seeks to re-evaluate the intellectual and cultural history of an enlightened Ireland.

Were the...