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Volume 59 Issue 2 February 2009

Despite the rise of Barack Obama, many African-Americans still feel like second-class citizens. John Kirk charts the progress of the civil rights movement through its most prominent body, the NAACP.

An infamous mafia massacre ocurred on 14 February 1929.

Blair Worden considers the enduring and sometimes surprising consequences.

Richard Cavendish remembers the first American-Indian hero, who died on February 17th, 1909.

Richard Cavendish remembers the first American-Indian hero, who died on February 17th, 1909.

Richard Cavendish remembers the birth of Birth of the First Earl of Clarendon on February 18, 1609. 

Already rocked by defeats in the War of the Spanish Succession, Louis XIV’s France faced economic meltdown as the chaotic nature of its finances became apparent. Guy Rowlands discovers striking parallels with the current credit crunch as he charts the crisis that was to lead, ultimately, to the French Revolution.

Mark Bryant on how French cartoonists of the 1870s responded to national humiliation at the hands of a beligerent Prussia.

Juliet Gardiner looks at recent publications marking the 150th anniversary of Darwin’s most famous work and the bicentenary of his birth

The Turkish government’s plans to flood two ancient towns with the reservoirs created by two dams are being fiercely resisted – but time is rapidly running out, as Pinar Sevinclidir reports.

Stella Rock sees a renaissance of religious traditions at what was one of Russia’s most vibrant monasteries before the Soviet purge.

Concerns about the British primary school curriculum made their way onto the political agenda last year with the publication of the interim Rose Report. With the full report imminent, Richard Willis looks at the history of progressive education and ponders its future.

The conflict between supporters of Darwin’s theory of evolution and Creationists is often portrayed as the latest skirmish in an age-old struggle between science and religion. It is anything but, claims Thomas Dixon, who argues that Creationism, and its pseudo-scientific offspring, ‘Intelligent Design’, are products peculiar to US history.

The ascetic French philosopher Simone Weil spent the last months of her short life exiled in London working for de Gaulle’s Free French. But, her strange, austere vision for a France reborn after the tragedy of the Second World War was very different from that of the country’s future president.

The expulsion in 1609 of more than 300,000 Spanish Moriscos – Muslim converts to Christianity – was a brutal attempt to create an homogenous state, writes Matt Carr.

Edna Fernandes visits a madrassa in northern India founded in the wake of the Indian Mutiny. One of the first Islamic fundamentalist schools, its influence has spread into Pakistan and Afghanistan, among the Taliban and followers of Osama bin Laden.