Volume 62 Issue 12 December 2012

While it is right to seek justice for those tortured and mistreated during the Kenyan Emergency of the 1950s, attempts to portray the conflict as a Manichean one are far too simplistic, argues Tim Stanley.

Chris Darnell examines the political and military background to the IRA’s last major action against the British army.

A great hoax was born on December 18th, 1912.

The great composer died on December 28th, 1937.

A landmark in folklore was published on December 20th, 1812.

A great hoax was born on December 18th, 1912.

The great composer died on December 28th, 1937.

A landmark in folklore was published on December 20th, 1812.

Geoffrey Best reflects on a lifetime collecting books and the difficulties – emotional and financial – of parting with them.

Adam Rovner describes the little-known attempt to create a Zion in the Portuguese colony of Angola.

Erica Fudge and Richard Thomas explore relationships between people and domestic animals in early modern England and how new types of archaeological evidence are shedding fresh light on one of the most important aspects of life in this period.

After bringing slavery in the West Indies to an end in 1834, Britons differed over how to treat other forms of oppression around the world, says Richard Huzzey.

When Richard II succeeded his grandfather, Edward III, he turned to alchemy to create a more pious ideal of kingship. Though his reign ended in failure, it left us one of medieval England’s most enduring and complex images. Jonathan Hughes explores its symbolism.

Helen Szamuely explores the unprecedented success of a household manual and cookery book produced by a Russian housewife, Yelena Molokhovets, following the Emancipation of the Serfs in 1861.

Disabled people were prominent at the court of the Spanish Habsburgs. Janet Ravenscroft examines the roles they played and draws comparisons with modern attitudes towards physical imperfection.

Disabled people were prominent at the court of the Spanish Habsburgs. Janet Ravenscroft examines the roles they played and draws comparisons with modern attitudes towards physical imperfection.

As the erotic novel appears to be experiencing a renaissance Julie Peakman reflects on 18th-century appetites for pornography.

Artemis Cooper reflects on Patrick Leigh Fermor’s flexible approach to historical fact.

Sarah Wise admires an assessment of lunacy in 19th-century London.

Derek Wilson welcomes the emergence from the shadows of Thomas Cromwell, thanks to Hilary Mantel’s prize-winning historical novels.

Gillian Tindall reflects on a recent discovery by a Dickens scholar, which offers new insights into the great writer’s early years.

Roger Hudson sails past a half-built Battersea Power Station and on to its slow decline.