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Issue 15

Fear then and now.

During Counter-terrorism week in 2014, police nationwide distributed leaflets to commuters on how to behave in a terror attack, with advice such as “run, hide and tell”. It ignited a debate vacillating between sardonic criticism of this anodyne phrasing and outrage at government fear-mongering. Despite living in an ‘age of terror’, many of us consider self-defence in anticipation of a …

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Concerning Hobbits

A few years back I stumbled upon a Hobbit hole. I chanced upon it in a lecture of 1900 by John Rhys, the first Oxford Professor of Celtic. Rhys was arguing that behind the divinities, demons, fairies and phantoms of Celtic folklore are dim memories of various peoples that once inhabited the British Isles. What especially drew my attention was …

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Of Counter-Factuals and Contingency

“But when fundamentals are doubted, as at present, we must try to recover the candour and wonder of the child; the unspoilt realism of and objectivity of innocence. Or, if we cannot do that, we must try at least to shake off the cloud of mere custom and see the thing as new, if only by seeing it as unnatural.” …

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David Tiedemann reviews ‘Bunker Hill’ by Nathaniel Philbrick

One of the problems with popular history of the American Revolution, and its era, is that it has been largely unable to free itself from the “Great Men of History” style. One needs to look no further than the two books by David McCullough, on John Adams, and the military leadership of the Continental Army in 1776, published in the …

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Five minutes with… Terry Deary

Terry Deary is well known as the author of the Horrible Histories series. His new book series, Dangerous Days is popular history aimed at adult readers.   The latest in the series, Dangerous Days in Elizabethan England, is out now, published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson. What is an historian? I think you’d have to ask an historian that. I’m just a …

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