History Today

History Today is a monthly magazine published by History Today, Ltd. Founded in 1951, it is owned by Andy Patterson and has a circulation of roughly 30,000 subscribers. Headquarters are based in London, England.The magazine, which is geared towards teachers, students, and those with an interest in history, publishes essays written by some leading history scholars covering myriad periods, regions, topics, and themes in history. It is available in print and online.The print version was founded by Brendan Backen, who worked as the Minister of Information during World War II. He was also the publisher of the Financial Times. Currently, both print and online versions are published under the vision and guide of editor-in-chief, Paul Lay.History Today offers readers articles ranging from atomic medicine to the rise and fall of empires. Each essay comes with illustrations selected by picture editor Sheila Corr. The web edition includes a news digest from web editor, Kathryn Hadley.Subscribers can buy an annual subscription for either the web or print version. Web subscribers can also purchase access to articles from the publication's archives dating back to 1980. The magazine also has a sister publication, History Review, which is aimed at students and is published three times each year.

Articles from Vol. 60, No. 1, January

A Great Degree of Value: John Tosh Argues That Historians Should Find Ways to Teach Undergraduates the Practical Applications of Their Uniquely Insightful Discipline
How many history graduates leave university believing that their hard-earned knowledge can be put to practical use? Those entering the teaching profession or the heritage industries will need little persuading. But what about history graduates who...
Aids to Independence: A Distant Monarch, Political Factionalism, Vainglorious Commanders and the Distraction of European Enemies Helped George Washington Seal Victory in the American War of Independence, Writes Kenneth Baker, Who Explores the Conflict through Caricature and Print
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Most of the paintings of the War of Independence that Americans hold dear, such as 'Washington Crossing the Delaware' by Emanuel Leutze, were produced in the 19th century to depict their nation's heroic foundation story. It...
A World without End: Jonathan Clark, Editor of a Major New History of the British Isles, Considers What Effect the Intellectual Currents of Our Own Time Have Had on the Way Historians Write
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] 'All poetical lives, unless they are cut off in midstream at a happy juncture, end in failure, because that is the nature of politics and of human affairs.' So wrote the British politician and classicist Enoch Powell in his...
Broadsides against Boney: Mark Bryant Admires a Russian Artist Whose Lampoons of Napoleon Inspired Some Notable British Caricaturists
Napoleon's invasion of Russia in June 1812 led not only to the formation of the Sixth Coalition against France (Britain, Portugal, Spain and Russia, joined later by Prussia, Austria and Sweden) but also to the ending of the tsar's 200-year-old ban...
Drink: The British Disease? Britain Has Had a Long and Sometimes Problematic Relationship with Alcohol. James Nicholls Looks Back over Five Centuries to Examine the Many, Often Unsuccessful, Attempts to Reform the Nation's Drinking Habits
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] In May 2004 the prime minister Tony Blair gave a speech warning that binge drinking could become a 'new British disease'. Alcohol consumption had risen steeply over the preceding decade and evidence emerged that Britain had...
Dr Trelawney's Cabinet of Historical Curiosities: This Month's Subject: Sleep
Scottish engineer James Watt (1736-1819) was a 'Lunatick' (member of the Lunar Society). After their moonlit meetings he would often sleep late into the morning as he claimed he needed at least ten hours sleep a night. Diplomat and Bishop of Chartres...
From the Editor
Britons have long had a reputation for heavy drinking. St Boniface, writing in the eighth century, told of how drunkenness was 'an evil peculiar to pagans and to our race. Neither the Franks, nor the Gauls, nor the Lombards, nor the Romans, nor the...
Guns, Gales and God: Elizabeth I's 'Merchant Navy': Ian Friel Argues That Popular Ideas of the Nature of Elizabethan Seapower Are Distorted by Concentration on Big Names and Major Events. Elizabethan England's Emergence on to the World Stage Owed Much More to Merchant Ships and Common Seamen Than We Might Think
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] During the night of August 29th, 1577, a young English sailor named William Smyth had a nightmare. 'He dreamed that he was cast overboard, and that the boatswain had him by the hand, and could not save him" Smyth was master...
January 13th, 1935: The Saar Plebiscite
The penalties imposed on Germany after the First World War included the permanent or temporary annexation of territory, including the Saarland area of the Rhineland, which was rich in coal. Under a League of Nations mandate of 1920 the Saar region...
January 1st, 1660: Samuel Pepys Begins His Diary
Starting out as the son of a poor London tailor, Samuel Pepys became his country's top naval civil servant, a Member of Parliament and President of the Royal Society. He was also the author of the most famous and best-loved diary in the English language,...
January 7th, 1610: Galileo Observes the Satellites of Jupiter
The telescope is derived from the pairs of spectacles with glass lenses which were made in medieval Europe to enable people to see further and more clearly than they could without them. By 1608 the first spyglasses had appeared and a Flemish spectacle-maker...
Lost Pioneers of Science: Medieval Scholars Were the First to Make the Connection between Maths and Science and Anticipated the Discovery of Inertia Long before Newton. So Why Have Their Discoveries Been Forgotten
Historians have never quite shaken off the idea that the medieval era was one of stagnation. As for my own subject of medieval science, it almost sounds like an oxymoron. How could any rational knowledge exist among all that superstition? As Charles...
Monitoring MI5
Espionage, spying, spooks, undercover operations, the Cambridge three (then four, or even five), surveillance, counter-terrorism--all thrill the imagination and on the centenary of the founding of the British home intelligence organisation, MI5, engage...
More Than a 'Mere Herodotolater': Paul Cartledge Visits the Archive of History Today to Retrieve a Critical Appraisal of the Greek Proto-Historian Herodotus by the Inimitable Oxford Don Russell Meiggs, First Published in 1957
Right from the start the founders of History Today envisaged 'History' very broadly indeed: temporally and spatially, so as to encompass not only 'ancient history' as conventionally defined (Greek and Roman, together with the relevant European, Asiatic...
Murder on the Metro: In the Years Leading Up to the Second World War, France Was Riven by Political Division as Extremes of Left and Right Vied for Power. Annette Finley-Croswhite and Gayle K. Brunelle Tell the Tragic and Mysterious Story of Laetitia Toureaux, a Young Woman Swept Up in the Violent Passions of the Time
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] At around 6pm on a Sunday afternoon in May 1937 an attractive young woman with newly coiffed blond hair, wearing a finely tailored green suit, white hat and gloves, left a bal musette, or dancehall, in a working-class suburb...
New World Overtures: Opera Has Flourished in the United States. but How Did This Supposedly 'Elite' Art Form Become So Deep-Rooted in a Nation Devoted to Popular Culture and Dedicated to the Proposition That All Men Are Created Equal? Daniel Snowman Explains
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] There was opera of a sort in America before independence in 1776, but it had a chequered history. Theatre of any kind was condemned by the Pilgrim Fathers. Life in Puritan New England, they preached, was tough and the daily...
No Offence, Your Majesty: Sedition Could Cost You Your Life in Tudor England, but by the 18th Century the Monarch Was Fair Game
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] In 1444 a Berkshire gentleman named Thomas Kerver was sentenced to be hung, drawn and quartered for calling the king a child, disparaging his majesty's manhood and saying that England would be better if Henry VI 'had never...
Shades of Grey: Following the Controversy Unleashed by the Appearance of BNP Leader Nick Griffin on BBC's Question Time, Gavin Schaffer Explores the Long-Running Tensions within the Corporation over Race Relations
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] The BBC's decision to allow Nick Griffin to appear on Question Time was no bolt from the blue in terms of the Corporation's race relations policy. The broadcast may have been unprecedented for Question Time but it was hardly...
The Old Corruption: The Recent Scandal over MPs' Expenses Would Not Have Raised an Eyebrow in the 18th Century When Bribery Was Rife and Rigged Elections Common. Trevor Fisher Looks into That System and the Slow Path to Reform
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] The current controversy over parliamentary expenses raised questions about MPs' corruptibility, with one political journal asking: 'Is this the most corrupt parliament ever?' It is an unhistorical question. Compared with the...