History

Spectator letters: Mindfulness, addiction, and dinner with Richard Nixon

8 November 2014 9:00 am

Mind games Sir: I hope that people are not unduly put off by Melanie McDonagh’s misrepresentation of mindfulness as a…

Sidney Bechet in 1939

Blue Note's 75 years of hot jazz

8 November 2014 9:00 am

This is a big book, a monumental text with 800 illustrations, 400 of them in colour, to be contemplated more…

Former Czech President Vaclav Have Photo: Getty

What went so wrong for Vaclav Havel?

8 November 2014 9:00 am

The unforgettable moment a quarter of a century ago when the Berlin Wall came down was the most vivid drama…

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Should ‘suicide’ mean pig-killing?

8 November 2014 9:00 am

There was a marvellous man in Shakespeare’s day known as John Smyth the Sebaptist. ‘In an act so deeply shocking…

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What are 16-year-olds supposed to learn by making posters?

25 October 2014 9:00 am

My niece, Lara, 15, has a mind like a surgical blade. On any subject, from calculus to The X Factor,…

All Worsthorne’s men: Hoover, surprisingly nice; Truman, smiling until Perry spoke; Eisenhower, who mocked his name; Kennedy, a hero; LBJ, a boor; Nixon, a friend; Reagan; and the first Bush

Bourbon from Bush, envy from Nixon... and running into Herbert Hoover: encounters with eight presidents

25 October 2014 9:00 am

Encounters with leaders of the free world – as a journalist, as a friend, and as a boy running in the hallway

Knockout lemon sorbet: Gelateria Bonaparte

Napoleon's birthplace feels more Italian than French

11 October 2014 9:00 am

Napoleon’s birthplace, Casa Buona-parte, in Ajaccio, Corsica’s capital, is pretty grand. It has high ceilings, generous, silk-lined rooms and a…

The end of The End of History. Photo by Robert Giroux/Getty Images

What’s that I hear? Francis Fukuyama back-pedalling frantically

27 September 2014 8:00 am

The problem with a futuristic thesis — particularly when summarised by a futuristic title — is that it is likely…

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Is America headed for tyranny? It is when the other side's in charge...

23 August 2014 9:00 am

For the last 50 years Americans have been decrying the increase of presidential power whenever the party they oppose is…

Unity Mitford proudly displays a swastika badge Photo: Getty

Hitler’s Valkyrie: Unity Mitford at 100

9 August 2014 9:00 am

Unity Mitford at 100

Photo: Alex Kouprianoff

How Napoleon won at Waterloo

5 July 2014 9:00 am

If you visit Waterloo today, there’s no question which general comes out on top

gin-lane

The delicious return of Gin Lane

28 June 2014 9:00 am

In 1751, William Hogarth was asked to create two prints: one depicting the evils of gin, the other the virtues…

Portrait of John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester, with his pet monkey, attributed to Jacob Huysmans

Thug, rapist, poetic visionary: the contradictory Earl of Rochester

28 June 2014 9:00 am

Philip Hensher on the scandalous 17th-century courtier whose hellfire reputation has overshadowed his fine satirical poetry

The bits of Magna Carta that David Cameron won’t want taught in schools

21 June 2014 8:00 am

The not-so-great charter David Cameron wants every child to be taught about Magna Carta. Some bits he might want to…

Granville Sharp

The starchy, conservative lawyer who freed every slave in England

14 June 2014 8:00 am

Slavery was ended in England not through blood and glory, but by the common law

Shangri-La Hotel Opens In The Shard

Paul Johnson’s diary: Boris would make a great PM – but he must strike now

10 May 2014 9:00 am

I feel an intense antipathy for Vladimir Putin. No one on the international scene has aroused in me such dislike…

Decisive moment: ‘Closing the Gates of Hougoumont’, by Robert Gibb     Photo: National Museums Scotland

Meeting George Osborne at Waterloo

10 May 2014 9:00 am

The defence of Hougoumont is one of the great British feats of arms. If the farmhouse had fallen to Bonaparte’s…

antisuffrage-poster

Did most women want the vote?

10 May 2014 9:00 am

The suffragettes’ opponents deserve to be remembered sympathetically

Churchill reading in his library at Chartwell

Churchill was as mad as a badger. We should all be thankful

19 April 2014 9:00 am

The egotistical Churchill may have viewed the second world war as pure theatre, but that was exactly what was needed at the time, says Sam Leith

English explorers on expedition in the Sudan, 1860-63

Sudan was always an invented country. Maybe we should invent it again

19 April 2014 9:00 am

Sudan — a country that ceased to exist in 2011 — is or was one of the last untouristed wildernesses…

Tony Benn Joins Remebrance Ceremony For 204 Dead Soldiers

We have to tell the truth about Tony Benn now. Who will hear it later?

22 March 2014 9:00 am

I could start by remarking that we should not speak ill of the dead, quoting the pertinent Latin phrase: de…

Do wars always start in years ending ‘14’?

15 March 2014 9:00 am

Years of war Imaginative souls have tried to compared the situation in Ukraine with that which preceded the first world…

Children At Auschwitz

When a survivor of Auschwitz asks for your story, what do you say?

8 March 2014 9:00 am

What do you feel when a survivor of Auschwitz tells you their story?

Kim Philby at the press conference he called in 1955 to deny being the ‘Third Man’

Kim Philby got away with it because he was posh

8 March 2014 9:00 am

Kim Philby’s treachery escaped detection for so long through the stupidity and snobbery of the old-boy network surrounding him, says Philip Hensher

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Niall Ferguson’s diary: Brazil is overtaking us – but it no longer feels like that

1 March 2014 9:00 am

 São Paolo It was back in 2001 that my good friend Jim O’Neill of Goldman Sachs coined the acronym ‘Bric’,…