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History

The skull of King Richard III. Image: Getty

Reading Richard III

4 February 2013 13:32

The confirmation that bones found beneath a Leicester car park are ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ those of Richard III has launched a deluge of familiar puns. ‘A hearse! A hearse! My… Continue reading

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William of Orange rides to victory over James II at the Battle of the Boyne, 7 years before the publication of Dryden's "Jacobite" translation of Virgil's Aeneid. Image: Getty

Discovering poetry: John Dryden, Jacobite superstar

4 February 2013 9:41

From Dryden’s translation of Virgil’s Aeneid Arms and the man I sing who forced by fate And haughty Juno’s unrelenting hate Expelled and exiled left the Trojan shore. Long labours… Continue reading

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We look at Lincoln through glass that is dark in places and rose-tinted in others. ‘Truth’ is elusive in such light. Image: Getty

Abraham Lincoln ‘somehow’ became the great redeemer

29 January 2013 14:00

Abraham Lincoln, in Walt Whitman’s celebrated phrase, contained multitudes. M.E. Synon showed yesterday quite how many there might have been. There is evidence of prejudice, callousness and corruption. Yet there… Continue reading

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Image: Getty

Abraham Lincoln, the ‘specious humbug’

28 January 2013 10:38

This post by M.E. Synon is the first in a series about Stephen Spielberg’s Lincoln. A counter-argument will be published tomorrow, followed by a comparison of screen and literary adaptations of the… Continue reading

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A man dressed as Henry VIII progresses up the Thames in search of more plenty. Image: Getty

Discovering poetry: Henry VIII’s Camelot

21 January 2013 10:23

‘Pastime with good company’, attributed to Henry VIII Pastime with good company I love and shall until I die. Grudge who list, but none deny, So God be pleased, thus… Continue reading

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Paul Emsley's portrait of Catherine Duchess of Cambridge, presently showing at the National Portrait Gallery. Image: Getty

The Duchess of Cambridge, defining a portrait

14 January 2013 12:26

Poor Kate Middleton. In the royal tradition of artistic and literary representation, what defines her at this moment in time? The creepy feature on her wardrobe statistics in February’s Vogue?… Continue reading

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Oxford Street, London, in 1890

Historical directories: Street View for time-travellers - Spectator Blogs

7 January 2013 12:40

Fancy a walk into London’s past? How about a stroll down Fleet Street in 1895? Or Oxford Street in 1899? It can be done. I can’t promise pictures, but I… Continue reading

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spinrunFinal

‘Turboparalysis’ Revisited

20 December 2012 18:33

The word ‘turboparalysis’, coined by Michael Lind (who has a brilliant piece on the subject in the Spectator Christmas double issue), is paradoxical, even illogical. And yet it is clear, perfect for… Continue reading

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Connecticut Community Copes With Aftermath Of Elementary School Mass Shooting

Newtown, Connecticut: A Very American Tragedy - Spectator Blogs

18 December 2012 19:09

I’ve not written anything for a few days because, well, I’ve been trying to organise what I think about the awfulness of the shootings in Newtown, Connecticut. Trying, also, to… Continue reading

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Admiral Darlan (R) pictured with Marshal Petain, months before his assassination in December 1942. Image: Getty

An assassination at Christmas

18 December 2012 8:00

In the upper outer corridor of the Summer Palace, with its views of the palm fringed courtyard below, the young man was waiting with his gun. It was a no… Continue reading

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Enthusiasts Take Part In The Annual Reenactment Of The Battle Of Hastings

The History Kids

13 December 2012 15:28

Martin Kettle has a column in today’s Guardian lamenting the inadequacy of the teaching of English history in schools today. He suggests that “the English people are increasingly cut off… Continue reading

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Dr Cosmo Lang, Archbishop of Canterbury, leaves Number 10 Downing Street on 6th December 1936 after meeting with Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin and other ministers to discuss the abdication crisis. Image: Getty.

Cosmo Lang, his part in Edward VIII’s downfall

10 December 2012 9:30

In December 1936, following the Abdication of Edward VIII, a rhyme circulated about the Archbishop of Canterbury, Cosmo Lang: ‘My Lord Archbishop, what a scold you are! And when your… Continue reading

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Michael Portillo dressed as King Charles II, the 'Merrie Monarch'. Image: Getty.

Henry Jermyn – the hidden power behind Charles II’s throne

4 December 2012 10:00

350 years ago, Charles II ruled over a Britain whose destiny – as a world power or a defeated backwater – was intricately tied to its relations with Europe. The… Continue reading

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History suggests that if you throw enough bones to this pack of partisan dogs, they'll agree. Image: Getty.

300 years of hating party politics

3 December 2012 9:37

‘Whig and Tory Scratch and Bite’, by Aaron Hill Whig and Tory scratch and bite, Just as hungry dogs we see: Toss a bone ‘twixt two, they fight, Throw a… Continue reading

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John K. Thornton believes that the creation of a militaristic ‘Atlantic World’ was driven by the hunger of European states for hard cash. Image: Getty.

The Atlantic, the ocean that made the modern world

26 November 2012 11:31

Just as the classical world was built around the Mediterranean, the modern world was built around the Atlantic. The Romans called the Med ‘Mare Nostrum’ – Our Sea. The Atlantic,… Continue reading

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Time Magazine's spiel prompts the question, how useful is the Freedom of Information Act against the machinery of the secret State? Image: Getty

Secrecy and the State in Modern Britain

23 November 2012 17:41

In his new book Classified: Secrecy and The State In Modern Britain, Dr Christopher Moran gives an account of the British state’s long obsession with secrecy, and the various methods… Continue reading

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Justin Welby returns to his seat after addressing the General Synod of the Church of England, which includes the House of Laity. Image: Getty

The Church of England is becoming a church in England

21 November 2012 9:22

This morning’s newspapers (and indeed the airwaves) are full of apocalyptic predictions about the future of the Church of England. The failure of the General Synod to ordain women bishops has… Continue reading

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The execution of Charles I, an event that underpins the radicalism of Douglas Carswell's book, The End of Politics. Image: Getty

Where does power lie? Or where should power lie?

19 November 2012 17:05

Iain Martin has written a cracking piece for the Telegraph entitled: ‘The coming battle with the EU is about sovereignty.’ Iain recommends a new play, 55 Days, which tells the… Continue reading

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Dusk falls and life ends in Thomas Gray's 'Elegy written in a Country Churchyard.' Image: Getty

Do you wish you were far from the madding crowd?

19 November 2012 14:20

From ‘Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard’ ‘The curfew tolls the knell of parting day, The lowing herd wind slowly o’er the lea, The ploughman homeward plods his weary way,… Continue reading

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SYRIA-CONFLICT

Picking sides in Syria, the Algerian experience

14 November 2012 16:24

Some thirty-five years ago, in 1977 to be exact, I first published A Savage War of Peace, a definitive history of France’s war in Algeria. The war dragged on from… Continue reading

9 Comments
The Famine Memorial Structure in Dublin. Image: Getty

The Great Irish Famine revisited

12 November 2012 11:54

The bare statistics of the Great Irish Famine are chilling enough: in 1845-55 more than a million people died of starvation and disease and a further two million emigrated. Ireland’s… Continue reading

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Samuel Richardson's Pamela - 'virtuous herione' or 'pert little minx'? Image: Getty

Puffing Pamela: Book hype, 18th-century style

7 November 2012 17:11

There are quite a few candidates competing for the title of the first novel in English literature. You can make a strong case for Robinson Crusoe, published in 1719, or… Continue reading

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Hitler and Goering trying to locate the German sense of humour. Rudolf Herzog's book argues that humour was often the only weapon Germans could use against the Nazis. Image: Getty.

The Fuhrer was not amused

6 November 2012 11:00

‘The German sense of humour,’ Mark Twain famously observed, ‘Is no laughing matter.’ Although many Greeks, stretched on the Euro’s rack at Berlin’s behest, may be inclined to agree, Rudolph… Continue reading

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Prince Henry's death prompted an outpouring of public grief, similar to that of Winston Churchill. Image: Getty.

William Rowley and the death of Prince Henry – poetry

5 November 2012 10:26

‘To the Grave’ Unclasp thy womb, thou mortuary shrine, And take the worst part of the best we had. Thou hast no harbourage for things divine, That thou had’st any… Continue reading

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65th Anniversary Of D-Day Celebrated At National D-Day Memorial In Virginia

The Continental Divide: Why are Red States So Red and Blue States So Blue? - Spectator Blogs

31 October 2012 18:37

So, for the third time in the last four American elections it looks as though this contest is gonna be a close one. As in 2004, however, the narrow-but-significant advantage… Continue reading

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