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James Baldwin’s radicalism was part Marxist, part Christian

Great biographies try to answer questions about the complicated relationship between their subjects’ inner life and outer workings. How did Winston Churchill turn the pain of his early life and his years in the political wilderness into the words that galvanised the free world? How did Frida Kahlo’s physical impairment shape her vision as a

Britain’s obsession with boxing is as deep-rooted as its devotion to cricket

Boxing has long been a British obsession, exported successfully to North America, but never widespread on the Continent. Mainland Europeans struggled to understand that in general there was no quarrel between contestants who assaulted each other so brutally. ‘Anything that looks like fighting,’ explained one bewildered French visitor, ‘is delicious to an Englishman.’ He might

The Great War was enough to make grown men weep

Following the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo it took a mere six weeks for the diplomats of Europe’s Great Powers to plunge the continent into cataclysmic war. Austria-Hungary wanted Serbia, which was protected by Russia, which was in an entente cordiale with Great Britain and France. Germany was the ally of Austria-Hungary. For