History

27 June 2015

The spirit of 1945 No one would have been more surprised at the sight of 100,000 people marching in London under the banner ‘End Austerity Now’ and demanding ‘Tories Out’… Read more

(Photo: Getty)

Charles Moore’s notes: Grexit isn’t like Brexit (and that’s why it won’t be allowed to happen)

27 June 2015

People write about ‘Grexit’ and ‘Brexit’ as if they were the same, but they need not be. Grexit is about leaving the euro. Brexit is about leaving the EU. It… Read more

lady-Chatterley

Trials of the century: sex, sodomy, espionage, theft and fraud

27 June 2015
Jeremy Hutchinson’s Case Histories: From Lady Chatterley’s Lover to Howard Marks Thomas Grant

John Murray, pp.418, £25, ISBN: 9781444799736

Jeremy Hutchinson was the doyen of the criminal bar in the 1960s and 1970s. No Old Bailey hack or parvenu Rumpole, he was the son of Jack, a distinguished practitioner… Read more

20 June 2015

Dropping the Clangers The Clangers made a comeback on BBC television. Some Clanger facts: — The actors doing the voices worked from a script in English, even though they were… Read more

(Photo: Getty)

Cameron’s EU referendum tactics make Harold Wilson look clever

13 June 2015

David Cameron is now facing the biggest challenge of his leadership: how to renegotiate Britain’s membership of the EU without destroying his party. His dilemma mirrors the situation of Harold… Read more

An Australian soldier lies wounded in the foreground, as hundreds of other soldiers move among the dead and wounded on the beach at Anzac Cove on the day of the landing (Photo: Getty)

The only kind of story that makes me cry

13 June 2015

Last week a woman stopped me in the street here in Sydney and promptly burst into tears. I was aghast. I really can’t say I’m in favour of crying. I… Read more

Businessman Alan Bond and Prime Minister Bob Hawke (Photo: Getty)

From surfing to takeovers: the story behind the richest man in Brazil

13 June 2015

The tectonic plates of economic life rumble and shift. As ever, market watchers are obsessed by big themes — and the demand for predictions about them even though so many… Read more

EU Arrest

We should celebrate Magna Carta by abolishing the European Arrest Warrant

13 June 2015

On the 12th of January, 500 of the great and good, or at any rate the well-heeled, sat down to a sumptuous dinner at the Guildhall at a cost of… Read more

The Battle of Waterloo on 18th Juny 1815, 1816. Artist: Anonymous, 19th century

How the French won Waterloo (or think they did)

13 June 2015

Three weeks ago, a journalist from Le Figaro asked France’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs who would be attending the 200th anniversary ceremony at Waterloo. ‘When is it?’ was the reply.… Read more

ambrosia

From ambrosia to zabaglione — now with added slavery

13 June 2015
The Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets Darra Goldstein, with a foreword by Sidney Mintz

OUP, pp.888, £40, ISBN: 9780199313396

Should sugar be taxed? Some of the contributors to The Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets seem to think so. Sugar certainly appears less appealing than it used to. Its… Read more

6 June 2015

First test The driving test celebrated its 80th anniversary. The first person to take the test, R.E.L. Beene of Kensington, passed. Here is some of the advice given to candidates… Read more

30 May 2015

Steam privatisation Cunard celebrated its 175th birthday by sailing three liners down the Mersey. The formation of the Cunard Line was an early triumph of privatisation. — The Post Office… Read more

Anita Dobson as Queen Elizabeth I in ‘Armada: 12 Days to Save England’

BBC2's Armada has something for everybody - including three yummy female historians

30 May 2015

It has been a while since the BBC really pushed the boat out on the epic history documentary front. Perhaps to make amends it is treating us to possibly the… Read more

16 May 2015

Scotland’s silent majority Sir: Hugo Rifkind’s article (‘Scotland’s nasty party’, 9 May) is a first for the media. It expresses the dismay, disbelief and incomprehension felt at the rise of… Read more

Labour Wanted

Despair after VE day… the men left behind by victory

16 May 2015

After all the carousing and flag-waving that followed VE day in 1945, millions of young men fortunate enough not to be still fighting the Japanese faced a problem. Having spent… Read more

2. WK Bombenangriffe, Ausgebombte in Hamburg

The carpet-bombing of Hamburg killed 40,000 people. It also did good

9 May 2015

In the early hours of 25 July 1943, nearly 800 RAF Halifaxes and Lancasters launched a 50-minute bombing raid on the Third Reich’s second largest city, Hamburg. The pilots used… Read more

Hitler with the Goebbels family in the late 1930s

Ménage-à-trois with Hitler: the Goebbels’ marriage was a bit crowded

9 May 2015
Goebbels Peter Longerich

Bodley Head, pp.964, £30, ISBN: 97818407920317

It is ironic that this weighty biography of Hitler’s evil genius of a propaganda minister is published on the day of a general election filled with Joseph Goebbels’s hallmarks: mendacity,… Read more

(Photo: Oli Scarff/Getty)

This election has made me understand how it felt to be a lefty under Thatcher

2 May 2015

On the weekend of 25 April 2015 I started to believe that the party I supported might not win an impending general election. I’m used to that. But I started… Read more

25 April 2015

Enemies within Sir: I thought Matthew Parris was typically incisive in his last column, but perhaps not quite as much as the person who wrote its online headline, ‘Scotland knows… Read more

caf

A 1992 election-day lunch with the young David Cameron

25 April 2015

I can claim a milligram of credit for David Cameron’s first star billing. In early 1991, standing in for the late John Junor on the Mail on Sunday and seeking… Read more

A portrait of Raymond Carr as Warden of St Antony’s College, Oxford, by his son Matthew

An education to know: remembering Raymond Carr

25 April 2015

I first heard of Raymond Carr, who wrote for this magazine for more than 40 years, when I was in Italy in the army at the end of the second… Read more

Mary Shelley by Richard Rothwell

There’s something about Mary (Wollstonecraft and Shelley)

25 April 2015
Romantic Outlaws: The Extraordinary Lives of Mary Wollstonecraft and Mary Shelley Charlotte Gordon

Hutchinson, pp.649, £25, ISBN: 9780091958947

If Mary Wollstonecraft, as she once declared, ‘was not born to tred in the beaten track’, the same with even greater reason could be said of her daughter Mary Shelley.… Read more

Following Galileo’s discoveries, a rugged, cratered moon is depicted (with papal approval) by Ludovico Cigoli in his ‘Assumption of the Virgin in the Pauline Chapel’

Moving heaven and earth: Galileo’s subversive spyglass

11 April 2015
Galileo’s Telescope: A European Story Massimo Bucciantini, Michele Camerota and Franco Giudice, translated by Catherine Bolton

Harvard University Press, pp.352, £24.95, ISBN: 9780674736917

We live in an age of astronomical marvels. Last year Europe’s Rosetta spacecraft made a daring rendezvous with the comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko, revealing a bizarre double-lobed mountain of ice and rock… Read more

Ernest Bevin Photo: Getty

The triumph of Guatemalan rum (and a disaster for a Guatemalan ambassador)

11 April 2015

For many years, the Central American republic of Guatemala had a grievance against the United Kingdom. It claimed sovereignty over British Honduras, then a colony of ours. Eventually, all that… Read more

Unity Mitford

‘You are always close to me’: Unity Mitford’s souvenirs of Hitler

28 March 2015

The English aristocracy has had its fair share of misfits, and one of the most far-fetched was Unity Mitford. No novelist would dare invent the story of a young woman… Read more