From the Editor

Brendan Bracken alongside Winston Churchill, April 1939.

Social mobility and self-invention in the pre-digital age.

Vanitas, by Edward Collier, late 17th century.

Can the collective endeavour of history still be our guide in the age of solipsism?

Meiji, Emperor of Japan, and the imperial family, woodcut, late 19th century. (Getty Images)

When it comes to rapid world-changing events, the Meiji Restoration has few equals.

Model villain: Lewis Powell, 1865, colourised by Marina Amaral.

How does the process of colourisation affect our understanding of history?

Cardinal virtue: Thomas Wolsey, by Sampson Strong, 16th century. (Bridgeman Images)

Projects for a peaceful Europe go back centuries. Occasionally, they succeed – for a while at least.

Holding the line: French soldiers blinded by gassing at the Marne, 1918.

The British public are obsessed with the First World War, but know little about how it was brought to an end.

Inspiring figures: the Lewis Chessmen, c.1150-1200.

An enchanting series revealed the strangeness of the past to generations of children.  

From the heart of Europe to the world: Philip Roth (and Franz Kafka), 1968.

The late, great American novelist performed an important, but little-known, cultural role during the Cold War.  

Brush with death: The Mule Track, by Paul Nash, 1918.

Literature and the visual arts have long sought to depict the nature of conflict. But what about music?

Friend to all: Sir Kenelm Digby. Studio of Anthony van Dyck, 17th century.

In an age of renewed faction, a reminder of the power of friendship over politics.