Britain and the Heritage of Empire

Bernard Porter | Published 27 June 2014
My heart sank a little on receiving this book for review, first because it looked initially as if it was going to be another of those ‘postcolonial’ enterprises attributing everything it covers – in this case ‘heritage’ preservation, mainly abroad – to European ‘imperialism’ (boo!); and second because it is multi-authored and, usually, multi-authored books are uneven. In the event I am glad I persevered with it.Read more »
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Africans in Georgian England

In this episode of the podcast, Onyeka joins us to introduce a number of aspiring Africans who made an impact on Georgian society during the 18th century.

You can read Onyeka's article on the subject, Black Equestrians, in the July 2014 issue of History Today.

Listen to the podcast on this page using the player above. Alternatively, you can download it from iTunes, download it as an MP3 or subscribe via RSS.

The Rise and Fall of the Working Class

Helen McCarthy | Published 24 June 2014
The history of the working class used to feature a familiar cast of characters. In the vanguard of the people’s struggle were the heroic workers: flat-capped, unionised and almost exclusively white and male. The flat caps are still present in Selina Todd’s re-telling of this story, but so are new faces.Read more »
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All Was Not Feigned

The struggle between certainty and doubt is at the heart of history, says Mathew Lyons. It should be relished for what it reveals about a past where facts are sometimes in short supply.

Mythical voyage: Brutus sets sail for Britain, a 15th-century illustration from Geoffrey of Monmouth's 'History of the Kings of Britain'. Bridgeman/Bibliotheque Nationale ParisIn May Brighton College, an independent fee-paying school, announced its intention to make the study of history compulsory for all pupils through to 18. Whatever one’s view of the decision, the fact that it was considered unusual and innovative enough to make the national newspapers should give us – and anyone interested in the practice and pleasures of history – pause for thought.

Should it not be obvious why the past is worth studying all the way through school? And, if it is not obvious, do we make the case for our subject’s virtues with sufficient force? What, indeed, are its virtues?

The Oxford Handbook of Modern African History

Giacomo Macola | Published 17 June 2014
Colonialism was predicated on the negation of African history or, as one of the two editors of this volume, John Parker, wrote in his African History: A Very Short Introduction (2007): a ‘general European perception [...] that Africa, especially Sub-Saharan Africa, had no history to speak of’. The emergence of sub-Saharan African history in both western and African universities is thus squarely to be placed in the context of decolonisation and what contributor Jean Allman describes as the ‘nationalist fervour of the 1950s and 1960s’.Read more »
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Edward III and the Triumph of England

Ian Mortimer | Published 16 June 2014
There aren’t enough books on Edward III. Decades of neglect have left his achievement obscured by huge clouds of pungent hot air generated by Victorian scholars, who were determined to label him a high-taxing, anti-free-trade warmonger. In my opinion he ranks among the most important leaders in the history of the western world for the impetus he personally gave to projectile warfare and the idea of nationalism. Although Barber does not directly deal with these aspects in his book, he too recognises that the achievement of the English under Edward was truly remarkable.Read more »

Ian Mortimer is author of The Perfect King: the Life of Edward III (Vintage, 2008).

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Video: West Germany Win the 1954 World Cup

Germany and Portugal will make their debut in the 2014 World Cup later today when they meet in the city of Salvador, Brazil.

This year marks the 60th anniversary of Germany's first World Cup win, as the country (then known as West Germany) defeated a fancied Hungarian side in Switzerland to lift the Jules Rimet trophy. You can watch highlights from the match above, including rarely-seen colour footage beginning at the 0:51 mark.

Dean Nicholas | Published 16 June 2014

Dean Nicholas is the digital manager at History Today and a former editor at Londonist.

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