Category Archives: History

Why the west is stagnant

Thomas Piketty, the French economist, calculates that more than half of total wealth in Germany today is inherited — an estimate confirmed by German economists. In the 1960s and 1970s, the share was just a little over 20 per cent. … Continue reading

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Using Torture properly (?) a lesson for the USA

Empirical evidence on contemporary torture is sparse. The archives of the Spanish Inquisition* provide a detailed historical source of quantitative and qualitative information about interrogational torture. The inquisition tortured brutally and systematically, willing to torment all who it deemed as … Continue reading

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A very brisk Mother Superior in a French convent

[Her] account includes being told by the [Mother] Superior that if a doctor advised a surgical operation, “your Superiors will decide whether your life is of sufficient value to the community to justify the expense. If it is not, you … Continue reading

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Putin’s favourite Stalin joke

As Stalin walked down the ranks of the troops he heard a thunderous sneeze. Fearing an assassination attempt he roared, “Who sneezed?” There was no answer and the troops froze in terror. He turned to the KGB colonel and said, … Continue reading

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Book Review: Short Notices

Robert Dallek ~ Franklin D Roosevelt: a political life (2016) The title says everything you need to know about Roosevelt. Everything that he did was filtered through a meticulous political calculation. Sometimes the outcome was gruesome and unconscionable such as … Continue reading

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The Treacherous King Edward VIII

  Source https://www.express.co.uk/entertainment/books/563824/New-book-reveals-fascinating-relationship-Edward-VIII-Adolf-Hitler  

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Brexit, Northern Ireland and Unification

The 2016 Brexit referendum aggregated all UK votes into a single total. England’s majority swamped the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish vote, which immediately cast a doubt on the idea of a shared political identity. Brexit’s authority however depended on … Continue reading

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Karl Marx as a journalist

The ethos of the [Russian Crimean] army was dominated by the eighteenth-century parade-ground culture of the tsarist court, in which promotion, to quote Karl Marx, was limited to ‘martinets, whose principal merit consists of stolid obedience and ready servility added … Continue reading

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Book Review: Hilary Mantel ~ The Mirror and the Light (2020)

The scale of the success of the Thomas Cromwell trilogy is that it’s a 2112 page story about a Tudor civil servant. Cromwell’s speciality was as a courtier and sycophant endlessly grovelling to Henry VIII. He was also a ruthless … Continue reading

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A J P Taylor on the Nuremberg Trials

Twenty years ago [1963] I published a book about the origins of the Second World War. At the time it was dismissed as wrong-headed and controversial. Now it has become the accepted version for most people. But there still lurks … Continue reading

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