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. 56, No. 8, August

Adlai Stevenson's Second Run: August 16th, 1956
WHEN THE 1,372 DELEGATES to the Democratic Party's national convention gathered in Chicago on August 13th, 1956, Adlai E. Stevenson was a sure thing for the nomination as the Party's candidate against the incumbent President Eisenhower. It was...
A Newspaperman in Madrid: David Wurtzel Has Been Reading the Diary of Lester Ziffren, the United Press Correspondent in Madrid Who, Seventy Years Ago This Month, Witnessed the Start of the Spanish Civil War
ON THE EVENING OF JULY 17TH, 1936, Lester Ziffren, known to his friends as Ziff, was in Chicote's bar, the place he called 'our favourite thirst-quencher'. He was preparing his nightly radio broadcast to the United States, 'Spain Day by Day'. In...
A Very British Massacre: David Anderson, Huw Bennett and Daniel Branch Believe That the Freedom of Information Act Is Being Used to Protect the Perpetrators of a War Crime That Took Place in Kenya Fifty Years Ago
WITH MEMBERS OF A US MARINE unit facing courts martial following the deaths of twenty-four Iraqi civilians at Al-Haditha, accusations of an attempted 'cover-up' have become as significant as the atrocity itself. Concealment implies complicity, and...
Birth of Kier Hardie: August 15th, 1856
THE BRITISH LABOUR PARTY'S first parliamentary leader came into the world in singularly unpromising circumstances. The illegitimate child of a farm girl named Mary Kerr or Keir (herself illegitimate) and, probably, a local miner, he was born in...
Cleopatra's Make-Over: Cultural Historian Lucy Hughes-Hallett Considers How Perceptions of Cleopatra Have Moved in the Last Decade and a Half
MY BOOK ON CLEOPATRA was first published in 1990. Since then she has undergone at least two more metamorphoses. Both of them have been imposed on her, not by any new information about the events of her lifetime, but by what has been happening in...
Contrasting Empires: J.H. Elliott Looks at the Differences-Cultural, Religious, Ethnic and Economic-Between the Spanish and British Approaches to Their Empires in the Americas, and Asks How They Turned out, Both for the Mother Countries and for the Colonies and States That Eventually Emerged from Them
IN THE EARLY 1770s, J. Hector St John de Crevecoeur, later to win fame with his Letters of an American Farmer, wrote an unpublished 'Sketch of a Contrast Between the Spanish and the English Colonies'. 'Could we have a perfect representation', it...
History from the Air: English Heritage Celebrates 100 Years of Aerial Photography
ARE YOU A PARACHUTIST or a truffle-hunter? It's an often-quoted distinction between the type of historian who likes the grand sweep of the horizon, and the type who prefers to keep the nose to the ground in order to dig up hidden treasures. Historians...
John Martin and the Prometheans: Max Adams Looks at the Works of the Artist John Martin, His Radical Schemes to Improve Victorian London, and His Broad Circle of Friends at the Forefront of Political and Cultural Change in the First Half of the 19th Century
JOHN MARTIN (1789-1854), painter of the apocalyptic sublime and creator of radical schemes to transform England in the Industrial Revolution, came from an impoverished rural background in the Tyne valley of Northumberland. His father Fenwick, a...
Landscape and Memory: Brian James Revisits Ypres, Where New Ways of Commemorating the Events of the First World War Are Enthralling Visitors of All Generations
STORIES OF THE GREAT BATTLES that shaped our world cannot be just lists of dates, causes and consequences. They must also recall the men who fought and the places where they died. Very few of the soldiers who endured the four years of obscene slaughter...
Mary Magdalen and the Kings of France: Susan Haskins Suggests That the Authors of the Holy Blood and the Holy Grail and Dan Brown, Who Famously Faced Each in Court Earlier This Year, Are Guilty of the Same Thing-Writing Bad Fiction
WHO WERE THE MEROVINGIANS? Today, because of The Da Vinci Code, millions of people who have read Dan Brown's novel or seen the film know--or at least think they do--who this 'Dark-Age' dynasty was. And they 'know' that Mary Magdalen apparently married...
Morbid History: Tobias Grey Uncovers Interesting Work in France That Brings the Latest Forensic Technology to the Aid of Historical Mysteries
SLEUTHS COME IN ALL SHAPES AND SIZES. Dr Philippe Charlier is tall, fresh faced and fashionably plimsolled. He also has a well developed sense of humour, judging by the wallpaper on his computer screen. What at looked to my uneducated eye like a...
Pass It On
IS HISTORY THE MOST POPULAR LEISURE ACTIVITY in the country, as has been claimed recently? A recent survey conducted on behalf of the National Trust and other heritage organizations, at the launch of the 'History Matters--Pass it On' campaign, suggested...
Robespierre and the Terror: Marisa Linton Reviews the Life and Career of One of the Most Vilified Men in History
MAXIMILIEN ROBESPIERRE has always provoked strong feelings. For the English he is the 'sea-green incorruptible' portrayed by Carlyle, the repellent figure at the head of the Revolution, who sent thousands of people to their death under the guillotine....
Secrets of Eternal Youth: Chandak Sengoopta Looks at How the Discovery of Hormones, the Body's Chemical Messengers, Revolutionized Ideas of Human Nature and Human Potential in the Twentieth Century
ON JUNE 1st 1889, the distinguished seventy-two-year-old French-American-Mauritian physiologist Charles-Edouard Brown-Sequard made a sensational announcement at a scientific meeting in Paris. For the few years, he told his august audience, he had...
The Californian Missions: Patricia Cleveland-Peck Introduces a Beautiful String of Spanish Religious Foundations
IF YOU STAND HIGH ON PRESIDIO HILL, San Diego, looking out over the Pacific, you are on the very spot where California began. Now your eyes will take in the urban sprawl of America's seventh largest city--but in 1769, when the Franciscan missionary...
The Prussians Invade Saxony: August 29th, 1756
THIS ACCESSION IN 1740 Frederick the Great of Prussia A launched a struggle with Austria for the mastery of Germany which was not settled for another hundred years. Highly intelligent and cultivated, he had the advantages of a large and efficient...
The Scourge of Napoleon
IF WILLIAM HOGARTH can be seen as the founder of modem cartoons and caricature, then the father of the modem political cartoon was James Gillray (1756-1815) whose 250th birthday is celebrated this year. He was also the first professional political...
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