Volume 59 Issue 6 June 2009

In 1381 England witnessed a ‘summer of blood’ as the lower orders flexed their muscle. Dan Jones tells the story of one of medieval England’s most dramatic yet curiously neglected events.

Mark Bryant looks at the lampooning of two hugely unpopular measures imposed during the administrations of two of the United States’ most distinguished presidents.

During his tenure as Governor of the Falkland Islands, David Tatham became fascinated with the Islands’ history. Here he describes how he worked with islanders to create and publish a Biographical Dictionary of the Falklands.

Marking the 250th anniversary of General Wolfe’s victory over the French at Quebec, Jeremy Black considers the strategy employed by British forces in their struggle to gain and hold Canada.

In 1926 Umberto Nobile, a young Italian airship engineer, became a hero of Mussolini’s Fascist state when he piloted Roald Amundsen’s Norge over the North Pole. But his subsequent attempt to make the journey on behalf of his own country ended in tragedy. Irene Peroni tells his story.

Geoffrey Best looks at the life of A.P. Herbert, writer, wit and MP, who played a major role in the liberalisation of British life with his reform of the draconian divorce laws.

The year 2009 sees a remarkable coincidence of anniversaries that tell the history of modern China. Some will be celebrated by the authorities on a grand scale, others will be wilfully ignored, but all reveal important aspects of the country’s past, as Jonathan Fenby explains.

The past is more than a set of events with an inevitable outcome. Historians must strive to capture it in all its fascinating strangeness, argues Chris Wickham, as he ponders the problems of writing about the Middle Ages.

Thomas Paine inspired and witnessed the revolutions that gave birth to the United States and destroyed the French monarchy. A genuinely global figure, he anticipated modern ideas on human rights, atheism and rationalism. 

Richard Cavendish remembers how the daredevil Jean-François Gravelet stunned the world on June 30th, 1859.

Richard Cavendish remembers how a former-British colony gained a long-serving leader.

Richard Cavendish records how Germany sank its own navy in the aftermath of the First World War, on 21 June 1919.

Paper was used in the Islamic world long before it appeared in the Christian West. But when Renaissance Europe mastered its manufacture, writes Matt Salusbury, it presented Muslim scholars with some theological conundrums.