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. 54, No. 12, December

'Almost Perfect' Film: History Today Announces Its Prize for the Best History on Television in the Last Year
THE HISTORY TODAY FILM OF THE YEAR Prize was awarded to Dunkirk: The Soldier's Story, made by Peter Gordon and shown on BBC2 in February. The film, made with the assistance of the Dunkirk Veterans' Project, tells the story through the eyes of men who...
Argentina's Left-Wingers: Leslie Ray Argues That Politics and Football Have Always Been Inseparable in the Land of the 'Hand of God'
ON APRIL 18TH, 2004 DIEGO MARADONA was admitted to the Swiss Clinic in Buenos Aires in an extreme condition. A crowd immediately began to form outside and soon developed into a mass vigil of a quasi-religious kind--devotees clutched candies, Virgin...
Benjamin Disraeli and the Spirit of England: T.A. Jenkins Reviews the Life and Legacy of Benjamin Disraeli, Statesman, Novelist and Man-about-Town, on the Bicentenary of His Birth
'IMAGINATION GOVERNS mankind'. The force of this observation, made in 1833 in a diary kept by Benjamin Disraeli, who was born two hundred years ago this month, found no better illustration than in the course of his own political career, which involved...
Election of Pope Adrian IV: December 4th, 1154
THE ONLY ENGLISHMAN ever to be Pope, Nicholas Breakspear spent most of his life outside England. Born in humble circumstances at Abbots Langley in Hertfordshire, perhaps about 1100, he studied in Paris and became a canon regular of St Rufus near Avignon....
Henry II: Nicholas Vincent Celebrates the Founder of the Plantagenet Dynasty Who Was Crowned 850 Years Ago This Month
EIGHT HUNDRED AND fifty years ago, on December 19th, 1154, a reddish haired, quick-tempered and hyper-active young man was crowned at Westminster Abbey as King Henry II. For the previous twenty years, under the reign of the usurper Stephen, the Anglo-Norman...
History in British Education: David Bates Introduces a Major Conference Exploring the Place of History in Our Schools and Colleges
HISTORY IS CURRENTLY in the midst of a remarkable period of popularity among the British public. It is officially recognised to be well taught in schools and universities, and in general it proves both stimulating and popular with students. Yet, along...
Identity Crisis: Edward Higgs Examines the Contentious History of Identification Systems in Modern Britain
'THE IDENTIFICATION OF EVERY INDIVIDUAL within a community is necessary in order (a) that each shall be made responsible for the fulfilment of his legal obligations; (b) that he shall be ensured his fights as a citizen; and (c) that he shall receive...
Michael Grant: George Weidenfeld Recalls a Masterful Historian of Ancient Rome, and Much Else Besides
THE LABEL 'BRIGADIER DON', authorship of which has been variously ascribed to Winston Churchill and Maurice Bowra, denotes a brilliant academic who brought initiative, inventiveness and a tutored mind to wartime political warfare and intelligence,...
Napoleon Is Crowned Emperor of the French: December 2nd, 1804
NAPOLEON BONAPARTE WAS already dictator of France. Since 1802 he had been First Consul for life with the right to choose his successor. There were Second and Third Consuls certainly, who were duly consulted, but everyone knew that one man ruled France...
Opera's Second Coming: Adrian Mourby Welcomes a New Wave of Opera Houses around the World, and Compares This with the Previous Surge in the Late 19th Century
THIS MONTH SEES THE OPENING OF the 106 million [pounds sterling] Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff, the latest in a wave of new opera houses being built for the twenty-first century. In 2002 Singapore unveiled 'The Durian', its spiky music theatre...
Passing the Baton
THIS MONTH, WE MOURN THE PASSING of a whole generation of historians. Conrad Russell, great revisionist of the history of the Civil War; David Chandler, student of the campaigns of Napoleon; Harold Perkin, pioneer of the study of social history; Michael...
Publication of 'The Charge of the Light Brigade': December 9th, 1854
ALFRED TENNYSON had been Poet Laureate since 1850, but it was the Balaclava poem which carried his reputation far beyond literary, and intellectual circles, turned him into the nation's poet and made an indelible impression on what his own and subsequent...
Skin Deep ... but in the Eyes of All Beholders: Arthur Marwick Reveals How Beauty Moved from Being Enticing and Dangerous to Being Enticing and All-Powerful
BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE have always enjoyed special opportunities denied to the plain and ugly multitudes. To validate that statement we have to be rigorous in our definition of beauty--a purely physical, biological quality--not rolling it up, as is so often...
Telling Tales in School: Sean Lang Looks Forward to the Return of Narrative to the Teaching of History in Schools
SET BESIDE THE INTENSE PUBLIC APPETITE for history, school history appears a decidedly poor relation. Millions lap up Simon Schama or David Starkey on television, yet GCSE or A-level students are subjected to a dry diet of endless Nazis and finicky...
The Madness of King Talal: Peter Day Delves into Documents Recently Released from the National Archives to Review the Short and Sad Career of Talal, Father of King Hussein of Jordan
THE DEVASTATING EFFECT OF MENTAL ILLNESS on the Jordanian royal family at a crucial moment in Middle Eastern history has emerged in British Foreign Office papers. Prince Talal (1909-72) acceded to the throne of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in...
The S.O.E. and the Failure of the Slovak National Uprising: Martin D. Brown Tells the Little-Known Story of How British and American Soldiers Disappeared in Slovakia's Tatra Mountains during the Remarkable Episode of Slovakia's National Uprising against Its Nazi-Supporting Government during the Second World War
ON JANUARY 21ST, 1945, a lone long-range fighter aircraft was dispatched from an Allied airfield in southern Italy, with orders to fly north eastwards over Occupied Europe towards the mountains of central Slovakia. Its mission was to reestablish contact...
The Vatican Germans and the Anti-Hitler Plot: William Frend, Later Professor of Ecclesiastical History at Glasgow University, Explained How He Influenced the Course of European History in 1944
'THIS IS VATICAN number 636 speaking'. The voice spoke English with a light German accent, 'We have something important to tell the Allies'. The date was Friday, July 22nd, 1944, six weeks after the Allies had entered the city; the number was that...
'Turn Again ...'
'Turn Again ...' Richard Whittington (c. 1350-1423), Lord Mayor of London. The Christmas pantomime hero, 'Dick' Whittington, is a familiar figure: an impoverished orphan from the West Country who becomes a scullion in the kitchens of a wealthy London...