Volume 63 Issue 7 July 2013

Tim Stanley draws parallels between a New York gang war of the 1900s and an act of horrific violence in south London.

Spain and Portugal established their American empires in the early 16th century and for the next 300 years between them ruled over almost 20 per cent of the globe. By the late 1820s, however, Spain and Portugal controlled scarcely 50,000 square miles of New World territory and were almost universally regarded as has-beens in the colonial game.
As a historian at the Imperial War Museum Peter Hart has access to a rich collection of primary accounts on the First World War. Having made use of these previously for a number of books, including on the Gallipoli, Somme and 1918 campaigns, he has now turned to them again to enliven a general military history of the war.
Britain was swept to war in 1739 on a tide of popular enthusiasm. The enemy was Spain and the target was the wealth of the Caribbean. The Royal Navy ruled the waves, it was believed, but the destiny of a great maritime nation had been twitted by Spain, an enfeebled sea power, which harassed British merchants. Behind the bombast, however, lay politics. War at sea against Spain meant a war at Westminster against political corruption, a means of cleansing ‘the Augean stables of national politics’.
'A man who has not been in Italy is always conscious of an inferiority', declared Dr Johnson. ‘The grand object of travelling is to see the shores of the Mediterranean.’ With this same grand object in view, 18th-century travellers set off to Paris and Geneva, thence across hazardous Alpine passes to reach Turin and Milan. Some then turned eastwards to Venice, others headed south via Bologna and Florence to Rome, the ultimate culture capital, with a jaunt to Naples if they were lucky and a journey home enlivened by visits to Germany’s numerous princely courts.
‘This is a book about the Buddha before he was the Buddha,’ writes Donald Lopez Jr in this history of the Buddha before the discovery of Buddhism by European scholars in the mid-19th century. ‘How was he portrayed before he became the pacific and positive figure so familiar and beloved today?’ It is a good question, one not often explored in books about Buddhism.
There has been a great deal of argument in the past decade about ‘the Enlightenment’. Scholars have argued for one that, spawned of Spinoza’s quill, would form a virulent cell leading to revolution; for another which took on different forms in different places; and for an Enlightenment which, contrary to received wisdom, could be clerical and conservative. Add to that the small group of academics who tend to deny its reality and you have a very cluttered scholarly landscape.
We know surprisingly little about the history of parenting, given its centrality to human experience. There is no lack of easy generalisations about the expected roles of mothers and, more rarely, fathers at various times in the past, both from scholars and in everyday discourse. But attempts to reconstruct the experiences and emotions of parenting and representations and societal expectations of parents in the past are rare indeed. This Joanne Bailey achieves for the late Georgian period.

The self-made American was born on July 17th, 1763.

The poet was appointed on July 16th, 1913.

The great Russian dynasty was founded on July 22nd, 1613.

Almost 50 years after his death, Churchill continues to fascinate historians, says Roland Quinault.

After the upheavals of 1688, England’s shifting social order needed new ways to define itself. A taste for fine claret became one such marker of wealth and power, as Charles Ludington explains.

As English universities seek more diverse means of funding, Jill Pellew looks at the ways in which philanthropists helped to establish universities in three very different locations during the early 20th century.

Though Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland, the influence of St Columba on Scottish Christianity remains profound. Ian Bradley examines the Celtic evangelist’s legacy 1,450 years after his arrival on the Hebridean island of Iona.

Sally White recalls the efforts of the British League of Help, launched in the wake of the First World War by Lilias, Countess Bathurst, to raise funds to support devastated areas of France.

As the arbiter of taste to high society, Beau Brummell became a friend of the Prince Regent. It wouldn’t last. By Nicholas Storey.

Margaret Clitherow, a butcher’s wife from York, was one of only three women martyred by the Elizabethan state. Her execution in 1586 was considered gruesome, even by the standards of the time. Peter Lake and Michael Questier tell her story.

The scientist and natural philosopher John Tyndall was known to the public through his lectures and newspaper debates. But, say Miguel DeArce and Norman MacMillan, one of Tyndall’s most famous public speeches, his Belfast Address of 1874, plagiarised the thinking of others.

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

Roger Hudson considers a photogaph showing London postmen as part of a vast, global mail network.

Gordon Marsden appreciates the long and brilliant career of the great historian of Tudor Britain.

As the Syrian crisis intensifies, John McHugo looks at the country’s troubled relationship with the West during the Cold War and the continuing Arab-Israeli conflict.

Gordon Marsden appreciates the long and brilliant career of the great historian of Tudor Britain.

As the Syrian crisis intensifies, John McHugo looks at the country’s troubled relationship with the West during the Cold War and the continuing Arab-Israeli conflict.

Alexander Lee admires an article by Frederick Godfrey from 1952, reflecting new attitudes towards the Renaissance.

Nigel Jones on the redemption sought by the assassin of Weimar Germany’s foreign minister.

Crispin Andrews finds echoes of one of Sherlock Holmes’ most celebrated mysteries in a tale of 18th-century France.

The story of the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff is still unknown to a majority of non-Germans. The ship, once an elegant cruise-liner of Hitler’s Reich, was evacuating German refugees, civilians and military personnel from the port of Gotenhafen when she was torpedoed by a Soviet submarine on the night of January 30th, 1945.