Miscellanies

The United States of Africa?

Is a united Africa, freed from the legacy of colonialism, possible? The Pan-African movement has been advocated by many different voices, underpinned by a belief in the common destiny in the peoples of Africa.

Policing the Outback

The Native Police was one of the most deadly death squads in Australian history, considered by some historians to be the single biggest killer of Aboriginal people in the colony during the late 19th century. The consequences are still playing out today. 

The Elusive Byzantine Empire

Though the beginnings of the Byzantine Empire are unclear, its demise is not. The history of the Eastern Roman Empire, from its foundation in 324 to its conquest in 1453, is one of war, plague, architectural triumphs and fear of God's wrath.

Dracula Beats the Communists

Bram Stoker’s novel was a mixed blessing for Romania. It attracted tourists, but the legend was at odds with communist ideals and made a villain of a national hero.

Sex, Violence and Hollywood

Alarm about moral degeneracy and ‘family values’ provoked Hollywood to instigate its own self-censorship codes in the 1920s. The industry's preoccupation with American morality proved to be the source of inspiration and even genius.

The Sons of Mars

The struggle for control of the straits dividing Sicily from southern Italy brought the two great empires of the Mediterranean, Carthage and Rome, head to head. It was a world in which ruthless mercenaries prospered.

The Original Influencer

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.

You Are Where You Eat

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.

Wild is the Wolf

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.  

Dark Arts

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.