Reviews

E.P. Thompson’s The Making of the English Working Class was one of the most successful history books of the 20th century. At the time of its writing, Thompson had one book to his name – a largely unnoticed biography of William Morris –...

Gretchen E. Henderson approaches her topic through an impressive number of examples, spanning disciplines, mediums, usages, geographies and chronologies and including works of fine and popular art, architecture, mythology, cultural moments,...

In Terence Rattigan’s play, The Browning Version, a school teacher makes this case for studying the classics: ‘How can we mould civilised beings if we no longer believe in civilisation?’ Reading Tom Holland’s Dynasty, I wonder...

In 1953, while incarcerated in Spandau prison, Albert Speer replied to a letter from his daughter demanding to know how he could have served the odious Nazi regime; he wrote that ‘the immensity of the crime precludes any attempt at self-...

Mary Beard traces the history of Rome’s first millennium from its notional foundation by Romulus in 753 BC to Caracalla’s decision in AD 212 to extend citizenship to all free inhabitants of the Roman Empire. This is, by any standard, a grand...

Fashion Victims by Alison Matthews David is a beautifully illustrated, accessible and highly thoughtful study of how fashion has been responsible for death and injury through the ages. It takes a fascinating look at the poisons and...

Unfortunately for the hippies, posterity favours those who provide articulate accounts of themselves. Theirs, writes Rorabaugh, was a movement that appeared ‘suddenly’ in the mid-1960s without manifesto, produced no great literature and whose...

Few lives provide a more appropriate subject for biographical decoding than the brilliant mathematician, cryptanalyst and father of artificial intelligence, Alan Turing, yet few men were so wrongly judged by their countries. Dermot Turing is well...

Whenever a new study of John F. Kennedy appears, one is tempted to ask whether we really need yet another assessment of a 1,000-day presidency that was short on substantive achievement. The answer here is an affirmative one. That said, anyone...

I am naturally suspicious of any book that sells itself by claiming to tell the story of a secret unit ‘that changed the course of the First World War’. One wonders, however, why the stories told here – in racy, journalistic tone by Wyllie and...

I begin this review with a confession. I am an inveterate weeper. I cry in the cinema, at television programmes and at the news. Music can leave me sobbing, as can school assemblies. I have also, shockingly, been known to bite back a tear in the...

Written in swashbuckling style by honorary Sevillian Robert Goodwin, Spain: the Centre of the World 1519-1682 is the story of the rise and fall of Spain’s Habsburg rulers from the early glories of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, to its...

I have been studying Stuart history for 50 years without encountering George Eglisham. He was a Scottish Catholic with a dodgy reputation as a physician and man of letters, whose long struggle for recognition and wealth came crashing down when...

PARIS! OUTRAGED PARIS!
Broken Paris! Martyred Paris, but liberated Paris, Liberated by the people of Paris with help from the armies of France, with the help and support of the whole of France, of France which is
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In 1902 the Reverend Henry Smith went to Aurangabad in the princely state of Hyderabad on behalf of the Church Missionary Society of Birmingham and the souls of Aurangabad’s Muslims. In five years of street preaching and distributing Urdu...

The Mediterranean, as a world in itself or as a gateway to other worlds, old and new, has been much studied. For the period covered by the book under review, the 16th century, the ‘classic’ study was contributed by Fernand Braudel. This was...