Volume 59 Issue 5 May 2009

Past experiments with liberal democracy have led Russia to the brink of civil war, economic collapse and the plunder of state resources. Daniel Beer explains why most Russians feel happier with a strongman firmly in control.

Armistice Day, November 11th, 1918, dawned fair and bright in Manchester. Hundreds of British, American and Belgian soldiers and munitions workers flooded on to the streets, singing and flagwaving, and bringing the tram system to a virtual standstill. Celebrations continued throughout the night and further crowds came from Lancashire mill towns to experience ‘the burning joy of the moment’. But the consequences for public health were devastating.

Following her execution by firing squad in Belgium in 1915, Edith Cavell's body was eventually brought back from Brussels to England on May 15th, 1919.

Following her execution by firing squad in Belgium in 1915, Edith Cavell's body was eventually brought back from Brussels to England on May 15th, 1919.

Richard Cavendish looks back at the Capetian monarch, crowned aged seven.

The Lord Protector stood down on May 25th, 1659.

On the eve of the Second World War, the navies of Italy, France and Britain plotted for supremacy in the Mediterranean. Their actions resulted in the fracturing of the sea’s age-old unity, with consequences that persist to this day. Simon Ball explains how the ‘Middle Sea’ became the Middle East.

Editor Paul Lay introduces the May 2009 issue of History Today magazine.

Mark Bryant sketches the brief life of one of 18th-century London’s most prodigious and daring draughtsmen.

More than two decades ago, Adam Zamoyski wrote a history of the Poles and their culture. As a major revision of the work is published, he reflects on the nation’s change in fortune.

Roland Quinault looks at how the Victorians saw the old English system of trial by jury as a defining feature of British good government and fair play and as an example to other nations. Admiration for the system at home and abroad, though, contrasted with the practical realities faced by 19th-century juries.

A subject and servant of Europe’s most cosmopolitan empire, the composer Joseph Haydn played an important role in the emergence of German cultural nationalism during the 18th and 19th centuries, writes Tim Blanning.

Eamon Duffy explores the relationship between Mary I and her Archbishop of Canterbury Cardinal Pole. Pole’s advice to his queen about attitudes to Henry VIII and in dealing with heretics show he played a far more energetic role in the restoration of the ‘true religion’ than he has been given credit for.

Why do we have history and archaeology? In the light of our understanding of ‘deep time’ Daniel Lord Smail argues that it is high time that the two disciplines were reunited.

Historical facts about the Druids are few, yet this very lack of tangible evidence has allowed their image to be reworked and appropriated by the English, Irish, Scots and Welsh for over 500 years. Ronald Hutton examines the modern history of an ancient order.

Wendy Moore catches a rare glimpse of a medical collection that includes tonsil guillotines and implements for trepanning.

Despite the seemingly endless celebrations of the events of 1968, it is the legacy of 1979 that lingers on, argues Jeremy Black.

Emelyne Godfrey explains the origins and current appeal of a hybrid martial art that flourished in fin de siècle London and was famously used by Conan Doyle’s fictional detective. 

As the Roman Empire declined its leaders became interested more in personal survival than good governance. Sound familiar? Adrian Goldsworthy draws comparisons with current crises.

This book is a remarkable and original achievement. No one before has attempted a study of this scale and scope on Mary. In 400 pages and in 23...