History

The Discovery of Merlin

Anne Lawrence-Mathers— Merlin the Magician, like his name, was a creation of the twelfth century. This is no attempt to deny the existence of earlier Welsh sources, but Myrddin the princely bard of the Cymry, driven mad by a disastrous battle and expressing himself in cryptic poetry, needs to be

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Jewish Life during the Interwar Period

Todd M. Endelman and Zvi Gitelman— The new states that emerged in Europe and the Middle East from the collapsed German, Austro-Hungarian, Russian, and Ottoman empires were insecure, fearing their neighbors and their demands to change the borders created by the treaties ending World War I. They were suspicious of

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The Moment of Parallel Emancipations in Jamaica

Stanley Mirvis— Thirteen years ago, Yale’s Center for British Art, in collaboration with the Institute of Jamaica Museum, commemorated the bicentennial of the abolition of the slave trade with an exhibition focused on the 1834 emancipation of slaves. The exhibit centered on the work of the Jamaican artist Isaac Mendes

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Fake News, Then and Now

Tracy Campbell— In his first fireside chat after Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt urged Americans “to reject all rumors,” noting that “these ugly little hints of complete disaster fly thick and fast in wartime.” By summer 1942, FDR knew that executive admonishments had failed to curb the avalanche of false information

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The Life of an American Seaman

Stephen Taylor— He was a patriot who took up arms in the Revolution against the Crown. Jacob Nagle was aged just fifteen when he set out from his Pennsylvania home in 1777 to join his father in Washington’s army. Once independence had been won, however, Nagle had no difficulty in

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The Scottish Enlightenment

J. H. Elliott— When asserting their equality of status with English men and women in the British national enterprise, Scots in the 1760s and early 1770s could point to Scotland’s new-found prosperity and to the dramatic improvements in the agrarian economy made in recent years. At this rate they would

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Racism and Malaria

Frank M. Snowden— Perhaps the most sinister aspect of the Fascist antimalarial campaign in the Pontine Marshes was its integration into an overarching scheme to transform Italy into a racial utopia as well as a sanitary one. The newly reclaimed Pontine Marshes became the testing ground for a program to

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Travel-in-Place

Just because we can’t travel doesn’t mean our minds have to stay put. Here are some books to satisfy your wanderlust from the comfort and safety of your own home. A writer for whom the journey has always mattered reinvents the very form itself in this inviting collection of in-the-moment

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Ebola, Health Care, and Globalization

Frank Snowden— Ebola painfully exposed the extent of global unpreparedness to face the challenge of epidemic disease despite the warning provided by SARS. But however heavy the burden of suffering in West Africa was, the world was fortunate that the calamity was not greater. By a consensus of informed opinion,

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The Pace of Change

Danny Dorling— Did you think that the rate of innovation was rising and that more and more was being invented every year? Did you pause to question the claim, if you ever heard it, when, on January 23, 2018, at Davos, Justin Trudeau said: “Think about it: The pace of

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