Volume 63 Issue 1 January 2013

Roger Hudson expands on a photograph of Enoch Powell campaigning in his Wolverhampton seat in 1970.

In our latest survey of historical fiction Jerome de Groot finds a remarkable breadth of books that address our need for present-day certainties to confound the chaos of the past – and revisits a timeless classic.

A selection of readers' correspondence with the editor, Paul Lay.

Lucy Inglis admires Nicholas Orme’s article on medieval childhood, first published in History Today in 2001.

In challenging times Britons seek comfort in a past that never existed. Tim Stanley shatters their illusions.

Pilgrims were a lucrative source of income for the Church and miracles did not come free. Adrian Bell and Richard Dale discover some striking parallels with modern marketing tactics in the management of shrines in the Middle Ages.

The recent introduction of police commissioners to England and Wales is supposed to bring the force closer to the people. But, asks Clive Emsley, where is the evidence for that?

Syrie Maugham was a businesswoman and beauty whose interior designs became a sensation on both sides of the Atlantic. However her relationships with a series of prominent men left her personal life in tatters. Frances Larson tells her story.

Hent Kalmo considers the roots of sovereignty and the changing basis determining the authority of a state to govern itself or another state at the expense of local or individual liberties.

The right to determine who enters its territory has always been seen as a test of a state’s sovereignty, but the physical boundaries have often been vague, says Matt Carr.

Nigel Watson celebrates 80 years of the British Interplanetary Society.

Mark Ronan describes new efforts  at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, to decode the world’s oldest undeciphered language.

Tom Wareham examines the role played by a legendary yet ill-fated pirate in the consolidation of England’s early trading empire.

Inspired by his upbringing at the English court, Hákon I – nicknamed ‘Athelstan’s foster-son’ – strove to make Norway more like his mentor’s realm, a well-organised Christian kingdom. His reforms were to have a lasting impact, explains Synnøve Veinan Hellerud.

Postwar decolonisation in West Africa saw tensions rise between the fading imperial powers of France and Britain, according to papers recently unearthed by Kathryn Hadley.

The French poet was ordered to leave his city on January 3rd, 1463.

The bibliophile and founder of the Bodleian Library died on January 29th, 1613.

The capital went underground on January 10th, 1863.

Benjamin Ziemann examines the enigma of Karl Mayr, the reclusive army officer who nurtured Adolf Hitler’s early political career.

This book breaks the traditional genres of history writing and that proves to be a very good thing. Rather than write about a single life Catherine Hall weaves the tales of historian-statesman Thomas Babington Macaulay and his abolitionist father Zachary into a single study. But, even then, this is more than a bi-generational biography; Hall uses her subjects, like all the best biographers, to cast new light on the national, imperial and international histories of the times in which they lived.

The spate of protests across the Muslim world in 2012 against the film The Innocence of Muslims has highlighted once again what many see as a ‘clash of cultures’ between Islam and the West. The western value of free speech seems to be irreconcilable with the Muslim belief in the unassailable holiness and authority of the Prophet Muhammad. The theory of Samuel P.

The Taiping rebellion in mid-19th century China is largely forgotten in the West. But it was a huge event which, in terms of its duration, death rates and damage far outdid other conflicts of the time, including the American Civil War. It represented a crisis in which Chinese tradition was confronted with a new teaching from abroad – Christianity – and the possibility for the West, in this case Britain, to ally with a progressive cause when China’s 2,000-year-old empire was in dire straits.

For more than 200 years one of the most curious exports to India from Britain was the so-called ‘Fishing Fleet’; not sturdy men in search of exotic new hunting grounds, but something much more serious: women seeking husbands. Many eligible British men had already made the journey overseas to serve in the East India Company. After 1858, when the company was abolished, more government administrators were needed, as well as military officers and troops.

Adrian Teal, whose Baroque cartoons have graced the pages of History Today, was born in the wrong century. From his exile in the 21st he gazes back lovingly – and sometimes lecherously – on the 18th century. Hanoverian England provides rich pickings for this brilliant cartoonist-cum-satirist, with its cast of quacks, fops and courtesans set against a background of political intrigue, squalor, licentiousness and greed, all overseen by a mad monarch.