History

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’,…

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A secret from my African childhood has become a deeper mystery

22 February 2014 9:00 am

About 55 years ago, when I was about ten, my younger brother Roger and I discovered a slave pit in…

When Scotland goes, will England return?

22 February 2014 9:00 am

Who, my husband asked, expects every man will do his duty? He was responding to the interesting and important question…

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How the first world war inspired the EU

8 February 2014 9:00 am

To understand the real meaning of the EU, you must grasp that it originated in the first world war, rather than the second

Spectator letters: Aid, Arabs and how to spot a gentleman

1 February 2014 9:00 am

The battle over aid Sir: Why Nations Fail, the book rightly lauded in The Spectator (‘Why aid fails’, 25 January),…

Taken lying down: Thomas Edison demonstrates the cat-nap, Virginia, July 1921

America's war on sleep

25 January 2014 9:00 am

The relentless rise of ‘you snooze, you lose’

O.Z. Whitehead, Dorris Bowdon, John Carradine and Henry Fonda in the 1940 film, The Grapes of Wrath

The two people who brought us The Grapes of Wrath

25 January 2014 9:00 am

John Steinbeck (1902–1968), an ardent propagandist for the exploited underdogs of the Great Depression, had barely enough money for subsistence…

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The Spectator book review that brought down Macmillan's government

18 January 2014 9:00 am

Did Macmillan stitch up his succession – or did Iain Macleod’s famous Spectator piece, 50 years old this week, stitch up Macmillan?

Nixon-shearer

Harry Shearer on bringing out Richard Nixon’s feminine side

18 January 2014 9:00 am

Simpsons star Harry Shearer on what it takes to play the president

Stephen Ward and friends, 1963. Christine Keeler is on the right

William Astor: My father, his swimming pool and the Profumo scandal

11 January 2014 9:00 am

I was ten when the Profumo affair began at my home, Cliveden. Andrew Lloyd Webber has captured some of the story – but not all

Irwin Piper takes his sheep to slaughter

How we lost the seasons

4 January 2014 9:00 am

... for tomorrow traditional seasonal rituals may just be ghostly memories of a vanished world, says Melanie McDonagh

Journey's End, 1939 Photo: Time & Life Pictures/Getty

To see how good Journey's End is, just look at who it's offended

14 December 2013 9:00 am

‘You have no idea,’ wrote the publisher Ralph Hodder-Williams in 1929 to one of his authors, what terrible offence Journey’s…

Left to right: Eleanor Roosevelt, King George VI, Sara Roosevelt (the President’s mother), Queen Elizabeth and FDR at Hyde Park on Hudson

A book that's inspired by a movie (for a change)

30 November 2013 9:00 am

Books become films every day of the week; more rarely does someone feel inspired to write a book after seeing…

Labour Beat

Profumo. Chatterley. The Beatles. 1963 was the year old England died

23 November 2013 9:00 am

If you’re looking for the year when the old England died, this was it

JFK at work at his desk in the Oval Office

The wounded Kennedy – and the people who gave him strength

23 November 2013 9:00 am

Ten years ago, a determined historian transformed our picture of John F. Kennedy. Robert Dallek had finally got his hands…

The London terminus of the North Western Railyway in the 1860s, showing a busy scene in front of the Euston Arch, which was demolished a century later

The men who demolished Victorian Britain

23 November 2013 9:00 am

Anyone with a passing interest in old British buildings must get angry at the horrors inflicted on our town centres…

Top of the happiness scale: Chaucer’s Canterbury Pilgrims (English School, 15th century)

Look! Shakespeare! Wow! George Eliot! Criminy! Jane Austen!

16 November 2013 9:00 am

Among the precursors to this breezy little book are, in form, the likes of The Story of Art, Our Island…

The Menin Gate Memorial at 
Ypres lists 54,389 missing. 
Ware was determined that every individual casualty should be honoured

The Briton whose achievement equals that of the Pharaohs'

16 November 2013 9:00 am

We constantly need to be reminded that the consequence of war is death. In the case of the first world…

Priscilla

Blonde, beautiful — and desperate to survive in Nazi France

16 November 2013 9:00 am

Around 200 Englishwomen lived through the German Occupation of Paris. Nicholas Shakespeare’s aunt Priscilla was one. Men in the street…

Two girls

Why do the British love cryptic crosswords?

16 November 2013 9:00 am

Everyone loves an anniversary and the crossword world — if there is such a thing — has been waiting a…

The Milad Tower in Tehran

A place of paranoia, secrecy, corruption, hypocrisy and guilt

16 November 2013 9:00 am

‘Is he a good writer? Is he pro-regime?’ an Iranian journalist in London once asked me of Hooman Majd. Majd…

Portrait of Modest Musorgsky by Ilya Yefimovich Repin

Why do we pounce on Wagner's anti-Semitism, and ignore that of the Russian composers?

9 November 2013 9:00 am

Philip Hensher on how an impassioned, chaotic group of amateur 19th-century composers created the first distinctively Russian music