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. 59, No. 6, June

Blondin's First Tightrope-Walk across Niagara Falls: June 30 1859
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Jean-Francois Gravelet was the most spectacular funambulist, or tightrope-walker, of his day or probably any other day. Born in 1824, he was the son of a veteran of the Grande Armee who was nicknamed 'Blondin' for his fair...
China's Interesting Times: This Year Sees a Remarkable Coincidence of Anniversaries That Tell the History of Modern China. Some Will Be Celebrated by the Authorities on a Grand Scale, Others Will Be Wilfully Ignored, but All Reveal Important Aspects of the Country's Past, as Jonathan Fenby Explains
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] If there is one major country where history is a political instrument, it is China. The treatment of the past has been a function of power since the centuries of imperial rule when new dynasties would...
England's First Castle: A Herefordshire Village near the Border with Wales Is the Site of a Major Landmark of Military History
It has long been thought that the first castle ever built in England was in existence before September 1051, when the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle records that 'the Frenchmen had built aene castel in Herefordshire'. Yet until now we have been no closer to...
From the Editor
In the bleak winter of 1776, George Washington ordered the retreat of his bedraggled army from its position at Fort Lee in New Jersey to its headquarters in Hackensack. The young republic of the United States was sure to be stillborn if the rampant...
Handel's Hidden Life: A New Exhibition at the London Home of the German Composer Gives Wendy Moore an Insight into the Troubled Personal Circumstances of the Man Behind the Soaring Music
During the 49 years that he lived, worked and performed in London, the composer George Frideric Handel was one of Georgian Britain's most public characters. But behind the walls of his house in the heart of the capital's West End, Handel the man remained...
In the Medieval Moment: The Past Is More Than a Set of Events with an Inevitable Outcome. Historians Must Strive to Capture It in All Its Fascinating Strangeness, Argues Chris Wickham, as He Ponders the Problems of Writing about the Middle Ages
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] When did the modern world begin? To Renaissance intellectuals, it was obvious, it was right then; and thinkers distinguished their own time as 'modern' in comparison with the ancient world which they saw themselves as reviving....
Into Thin Air: In 1926 Umberto Nobile, a Young Italian Airship Engineer, Became a Hero of Mussolini's Fascist State When He Piloted Roald Amundsen's Norge over the North Pole. but His Subsequent Attempt to Make the Journey on Behalf of His Own Country Ended in Tragedy. Irene Peroni Tells His Story
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] In the autumn of 1925 the Norwegian polar explorer Roald Amundsen, the man who had beaten Robert Falcon Scott in the ill-fated race to the South Pole in 1911, asked a young Italian aeronautical engineer...
Our Island Story: During His Tenure as Governor of the Falkland Islands, David Tatham Became Fascinated with the Islands' History. Here He Describes How He Worked with Islanders to Create and Publish a Biographical Dictionary of the Falklands
On the heels of the 60 volumes of the new Oxford DNB, it may seem curious to compile a biographical dictionary of the Falklands--relatively small and sparsely settled islands with a population of 2-3,000 inhabitants and a recorded history of just over...
Political Animals: Mark Bryant Looks at the Lampooning of Two Hugely Unpopular Measures Imposed during the Administrations of Two of the United States' Most Distinguished Presidents
While Britain was embroiled in the Napoleonic Wars, two significant political cartoons were published in the US during the presidencies of Thomas Jefferson and his successor, James Madison. They both commented on recently introduced civil legislation...
The Father of the Permissive Society: Geoffrey Best Looks at the Life of A.P. Herbert, Writer, Wit and MP, Who Played a Major Role in the Liberalisation of British Life with His Reform of the Draconian Divorce Laws
On its more respectable side, the 'Permissive Society' meant liberation from the oppression of laws that stood between individuals and their self-determination and fulfilment. The legislation that proposed to regulate it is rightly connected with the...
The Gain from Paine: Thomas Paine, Who Died 200 Years Ago, Inspired and Witnessed the Revolutions That Gave Birth to the United States and Destroyed the French Monarchy. A Genuinely Global Figure, He Anticipated Modern Ideas on Human Rights, Atheism and Rationalism. David Nash Looks at His Enduring Impact
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] At the end of President Obama's inaugural address in January 2009, he alluded to a small passage that appeared in Thomas Paine's pamphlet Common Sense. Faced with an American economy wracked by nervousness...
The German Battle Fleet Scuttled at Scapa Flow: June 21 1919
The handing over to the Allies of the German high seas fleet was one of the terms of the armistice that ended the First World War in November 1918. The arrangements for the surrender were worked out a few days later between Admiral Sir David Beatty...
The Koran on 'Christian' Paper: Paper Was Used in the Islamic World Long before It Appeared in the Christian West. but When Renaissance Europe Mastered Its Manufacture, Writes Matt Salusbury, It Presented Muslim Scholars with Some Theological Conundrums
The Muslim world adopted paper centuries before Christian Europe. Knowledge of its production spread from Moorish Andalusia across Europe in the 13th century. But, as cheaper western technology took the Mediterranean paper industry away from the traditional...
The Peasants' Revolt: In 1381 England Witnessed a 'Summer of Blood' as the Lower Orders, Emboldened by the Labour Shortages That Followed the Black Death, Flexed Their Muscle. Dan Jones Tells the Story of One of Medieval England's Most Dramatic Yet Curiously Neglected Events
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Between May and August 1381 England experienced a rebellion b of dramatic severity and suddenness. The lower orders rebelled against the lawmaking and landowning classes and the incompetent minority government of the 14-year-old...
The Three Sieges of Quebec: Marking the 250th Anniversary of General Wolfe's Victory over the French at Quebec, Jeremy Black Considers the Strategy Employed by British Forces in Their Struggle to Gain and Hold Canada
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Last year Canada and France celebrated the foundation of the first lasting French settlement at Quebec in 1608. This year Canada and Britain commemorate the heroism and skill of James Wolfe on the 250th anniversary of the...
Unsaddling a Horseman: Famines Are Less Likely Today Than at Any Time in History, Although Climate Change, Economic Crises and Regional Wars Mean They Will Never Disappear Completely. Cormac O Grada Looks at the Causes of Famine, Their Horrific Effects and the Considerable Problems Historians Have in Recording Them
History teaches us that nearly all famines are caused by varying combinations of economic backwardness and human agency. Sometimes, as in medieval Europe or late Qing China, factors such as poor communications and the high cost of storage have been...