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History Matters

By White House photographer. - Ronald Reagan Presidential Library., Public Domain,

By Charlie Laderman

The 45th US President is caught in a constant rerun of the debates of the 1980s, argues Charlie Laderman.

The Royal Society in Crane Court, London, 17th century

By David Wootton

The rise of ‘the fact’ during the 17th century came at the expense of the power of authority. Could the digital age reverse how we decide what is true and what is not? 

Illustration by Warwick Goble from the Complete Poetical Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, 1912. © Alamy;

By Eleanor Parker

If you believe the neologism 'post-truth' describes a new phenomenon, think again. Geoffrey Chaucer diagnosed the problem at the end of the 14th century, as Eleanor Parker points out.

Wine cellars at Cantine Florio, Marsala, Sicily (c) Gian Luigi Perrella

By Henry Jeffreys

Beyond a few ruins, there is very little to see from Britain's brief occupation of Sicily – but you can taste its legacy in marsala wine.

Hotel Dracula. © Walter Bibikow/Getty Images

By Rhys Griffiths

Communist Romania's biggest concession to the west's Dracula obsession. 

Madingley American Cemetery, Cambridge MA (c) Amanda Slater

By James Whitfield

The much-vaunted 'special relationship' between Britain and the United States obscures another history of rivalry and suspicion between the two allies.

Portrait of Katerina Lemmel from a church panel

By Elizabeth Goodwin

Rather than being narcissistic, images of the self were used to represent a spiritual community.

Enlightened: a Berlin synagogue, 18th-century German engraving.

By Peter Schröder

In the intellectual community of Berlin, Saul Ascher was committed to the reform of Judaism.

Waste not: government campaign poster, 1917. Copyright Advertising Archives

By Jennifer Doyle

Volunteer rationing in the First World War depended on patriotism, but that could only go so far.

Herstmonceux Medieval Festival © Andrew Campbell Photography

By Minoo Dinshaw

Minoo Dinshaw is disappointed to discover that ignorance of the Middle Ages can found even among the most elevated company.