Philip Mansel

Portrait of Marie Antoinette by Elisabeth Vigée Le Brun

How a Swiss banker’s bungling led to the French Revolution

2 July 2016 9:00 am

France’s problems today should lessen the condescension of posterity towards Louis XVI. Presidents of the Republic have proved just as…

Frederick strolls with Voltaire through the palace of Sans-Souci

Atheist and gay, Frederick the Great was more radical than most leaders today

3 October 2015 9:00 am

Reacquaintance with Germany is long overdue for most English people. Before 1914 it was at least as familiar as France…

He who must be obeyed: portrait of the Kaiser by Ferdinand Keller, 1893

Kaiser Wilhelm's guide to ruining a country

2 August 2014 9:00 am

The life of Kaiser Wilhelm II is also a guide to how to ruin a country, says Philip Mansel

The vieux port of Marseille

Sublime port

8 December 2012 9:00 am

Ports can challenge national stereotypes: think of the difference between St Petersburg and Russia, or Naples and Italy. Since England…

Love letters to foreign lands

13 October 2012 9:00 am

The writer Patrick Leigh Fermor was not only brave, charming and cultivated. He had a knack of getting under the skin, says Philip Mansel

Charming, cold-eyed cosmopolitan

10 March 2012 10:00 am

At last a diary as penetrating on Berlin as the Goncourt brothers’ on Paris has been translated into English. The…

Gunboat diplomacy

28 January 2012 10:00 am

Philip Mansel on the brief period in British history when Mare Nostrum became our sea

The battle for the holy city

19 February 2011 12:00 am

In a tour de force of 500 pages of text Simon Sebag Montefiore, historian of Stalin and Potemkin, turns to a totally different subject: the city of Jerusalem.

Under Eastern eyes

22 January 2011 12:00 am

The Ottoman Empire inspired great travel books as well as great architects. Travellers like George Sandys, Richard Pococke or the Chevalier d’Arvieux in the 17th and 18th centuries were curious, erudite and less arrogant than their 19th-century successors.

Through Levantine eyes

7 May 2008 12:00 am

Philip Mansel reviews a pair of books on Turkey

The king of peace

9 January 2008 12:00 am

Philip Mansel reviews Lion of Jordan:  The Life of King Hussein in War and Peace by Avi Shlaim

The Viennese charades

14 June 2007 11:25 am

Europe had a party during the Congress of Vienna in the last months of 1814. Monarchs, ministers, ambassadors and their…

The Prince and the F

9 August 2006 3:43 pm

Anyone interested in the history of Germany, of nationalism or of dynasties will be gripped by this book. Born at…

Power behind the scenes

28 August 2004 12:00 am

Parliament has so dominated the writing of English political history that the royal household has been sidelined. Moreover, the absence…

Overbearing and undermining

20 March 2004 12:00 am

A hundred and twenty years ago, the global hyper-power invaded a strategic Middle Eastern country. It talked of self-government but…

Courtiers and communists

19 July 2003 12:00 am

Courts can be a tool for understanding the present as well as the past. The behaviour patterns of courts and…

Who wore the royal trousers?

16 November 2002 12:00 am

Revolutions no longer seem so inevitable, nor the overthrown governments so hopeless, since the failure of the greatest of all…