Miscellanies

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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An uncanny ability to mould public desire made Edward Bernays one of the 20th century’s most influential – yet invisible – characters, the architect of modern mass manipulation.

Restaurants went mainstream in the 19th century, but the boom in places to dine out brought unexpected perils – menu anxiety, excessive table talk and ‘strange ladies’ among them.

What’s the difference between man’s best friend and the ‘enemy of all society’? In the decades before Darwin, the distinction between the domestic dog and its feared wild ancestor was absolute.  

A warped path from Caspar David Friedrich to Adolf Hitler arrives at the dark heart of German Romanticism. Does a painting represent human triumph or a humbling? The answer is in the ideological eye of the beholder.

When the Cuban Revolution succeeded in January 1959, Fidel Castro had a problem: he was 550 miles from Havana. Undeterred, the would-be leader turned his journey to the capital into a victory march.

In 1904, when tobacco farmers of Kentucky and Tennessee formed an association to unite against the American Tobacco Company, a vigilante splinter group decided to deliver its own brand of rough justice.

For most of history, different peoples, cultures and religious groups have lived according to their own calendars. Then, in the 11th century, a Persian scholar attempted to create a single, universal timeline for all humanity. 

During the First World War, while politicians prevaricated, Romania’s British queen lobbied for entry on the side of the Allies and courted the international press, becoming the glamorous face of her adopted country’s war effort. 

As the warm Middle Ages gave way to the ‘Little Ice Age’, the abundance of ice inspired trade and technology, captivating and terrifying those who endured life in a cold climate.

Fearing nuclear war, in 1965 the UK government published advice on how members of the public should protect themselves against the Bomb. An experiment in York put it to the test.