the first world war

A Tommy rescues two canaries from a ruined house on the Western Front in 1915. Canaries were treasured not only as gas detectors but also in ambulance trains, where their song comforted wounded soldiers

Foreign fields forever England

26 November 2016 9:00 am

In July 1915 the poet Edward Thomas enlisted as a soldier with the Artists’ Rifles, even though, at the age…

Nancy Astor, photographed by Emil Otto Hoppé

How to suck up in society — with the Cunards, the Corrigans and the Colefaxes

10 September 2016 9:00 am

A more appropriate subtitle to this homage to the queen bees of the interwar years might have been ‘How to…

Was the bloodiest battle in history completely futile?

2 July 2016 9:00 am

On 1 July 1916, along a frontage of 18 miles, 100,000 British infantrymen — considerably more than the entire strength…

My strategy for the first world war — by Allan Mallinson

11 June 2016 9:00 am

In this centenary year of the Somme, it is refreshing to read a book about the Great War that is…

Sexual tension and Siberian magic mushrooms

28 May 2016 9:00 am

On her arrival in Russia in 1914, Gerty Freely finds it refreshingly liberal compared to her native Britain: here servants…

T.E. Lawrence: from young romantic to shame-shattered veteran

16 April 2016 9:00 am

T.E. Lawrence is seen as a ‘metaphor for imperialism, violence and betrayal’ in the Middle East. But woeful Arab leadership has also been to blame for the region’s problems, says Justin Marozzi

A fairytale return for Graham Swift

20 February 2016 9:00 am

The opening of Graham Swift’s new novel clearly signals his intent. ‘Once upon a time’ tells us that this will…

Rex Whistler: ‘a desolate sense of loneliness amidst so much fun’

14 November 2015 9:00 am

When Hugh and Mirabel Cecil’s book In Search of Rex Whistler was published in 2012, the late Brian Sewell reviewed…

What drove Europe into two world wars?

19 September 2015 8:00 am

Sir Ian Kershaw won his knight’s spurs as a historian with his much acclaimed two-volume biography of Hitler, Hubris and…

Sebastian Faulks returns to the psychiatrist’s chair in Where My Heart Used to Beat

12 September 2015 9:00 am

There can hardly be two novelists less alike than Sebastian Faulks and Will Self, in style and in content. Faulks…

British troops go over the top on 1 July 1916, the first day of the Battle of the Somme

The British army’s greatest catastrophe — and its most valuable lesson

5 September 2015 9:00 am

Peter Parker spends 24 hours on the bloodsoaked battlefield of the Somme, scene of the British army’s greatest catastrophe

The new Imperial Royal Austrian Light Infantry c.1820

The honour of the Habsburgs was all that mattered to the imperial Austrian army

20 June 2015 9:00 am

John Keegan, perhaps the greatest British military historian of recent years, felt that the most important book (because of its…

Edward Thomas: the prolific hack (who wrote a book review every three days for 14 years) turned to poetry just in time

23 May 2015 9:00 am

Edward Thomas was gloomy as Eeyore. In 1906 he complained to a friend that his writing ‘was suffering more &…

Carnage on the home front: revisiting a forgotten disaster of the first world war

9 May 2015 9:00 am

Philip Hensher on a little-known episode of first world war history when a munitions factory in Kent exploded in April 1916, claiming over 100 lives

The Irish Times: read by the smug denizens of Dublin 4 and responsible for the Celtic Tiger property bubble

21 March 2015 9:00 am

The most successful newspapers have a distinct personality of their own with which their readers connect. In Britain, the Daily…

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

Like Birdsong – only cheerful

2 August 2014 9:00 am

It is difficult to know whether Clive Aslet intended a comparison between his debut novel, The Birdcage, set in Salonica…

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…

Edwardian Requiem, by Michael Waterhouse - review

29 June 2013 9:00 am

The photograph on the jacket, reproduced above, says it all — or at least all of what most of us…