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Miscellanies is History Today's free weekly long read. Every Thursday, we publish a specially commissioned essay or long read from our archive. The subject? History. As the name suggests, we can’t be more specific…

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A Palestinian woman in Ramallah, 10 July 2014.

Starting in the 1960s, the Palestinian revolution was galvanised by the production of protest posters which depicted a united people and a hopeful future. As the liberation movement fractured, such visions disappeared.

Nguyen Ai Quoc (Ho Chi Minh), 1921.

When, in 1931, the Vietnamese revolutionary Nguyen Ai Quoc was discovered to be hiding in Hong Kong, the French authorities requested the British extradite him to Indochina where a death sentence awaited. 

A couple reads grave markers of East Germans who died trying to escape East Germany across the Berlin Wall, 1990.

The fall of the Berlin Wall posed various questions. Was a united Germany dangerous? How to protect the East’s heritage? And how should the Wall be remembered?

Grand Hotel Dolder, Zurich, Switzerland, c.1900.

At the turn of the 20th century, Switzerland embraced the Grand Hotel. The First World War brought one golden age of hotels to an end, ushering in a new, more uncertain one.   

A Man seated reading at a Table in a Lofty Room, Follower of Rembrandt, c.1628-30.

Loneliness as an emotion was absent in English writing before 1800. What does the diary of a Georgian widower reveal about its connection with the loss of faith?

Members of the Musgrove family, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, 1935.

Tough, lawless and often violent, the outlook of the Anglo-Scottish borderlands profoundly shaped the culture of the southern United States.

Saint James the Great, Guido Reni, c.1636.

Spain’s patron saint has been depicted as apostle, pilgrim and slayer. His various guises reflect the deep divisions that have dominated Spanish history.

Leonidas at Thermopylae, by Jacques-Louis David, 1812.

The story of 300 Greeks withstanding the might of Persia at the Thermopylae pass is well known. But how accurate is it? And, with few sources, how can we know?

The people of medieval Europe were devoted to their dogs; one great French dog-lover declared that the greatest defect of the species was that they ‘lived not long enough’.


‘Concentration camps’ are difficult to define. Even the survivors of the most notorious and universally recognised camps in history discovered this problem in the aftermath of the Second World War.