Archive for the ‘History’ Category


And how did you spend Valentine’s Day?

February 15th, 2019 by Roger Darlington

I visited Manchester for the day with my new partner. We went to the People’s History Museum to join a special tour of the main galleries and hear about love stories through history – an event billed as “a perfect date for romantic radicals”. Mary Wollstonecraft strongly disagreed with the treatment of women within the institution […]

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How a slave revolt in Haiti doubled the size of the United States

February 14th, 2019 by Roger Darlington

I used to love “The West Wing” not just for its entertainment value but because I learned things. To some extent, the same is true with the current political series “Madam Secretary”. It was thanks to a episode recently screened in the UK (we are behind the US) that I learned how the United States […]

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On the 40th anniversary of the revolution in Iran, how much do you know about the country and its people?

February 11th, 2019 by Roger Darlington

According to the Wikipedia page on the Iran revolution, it took place between 7 January 1978 – 11 February 1979, so today marks the 40th anniversary of this enormously important event, but few people know much about this large and important nation. Iran is home to one of the world’s oldest continuous major civilisations, with […]

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A review of the historical novel “Munich” by Robert Harris

February 3rd, 2019 by Roger Darlington

This is the latest and twelfth historical novel from this acclaimed master storyteller and the sixth that I have enjoyed. Whereas the first, “Fatherland”, presented a counterfactual view of the end of the Second World War – Germany and Britain sign a peace treaty and Hitler lives to be 75 – “Munich” is an essentially […]

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A review of the Dick Cheney bio-pic “Vice”

February 2nd, 2019 by Roger Darlington

Adam McKay stunned us with the “The Big Short” in which, as co-writer and director, he endeavoured to tell the complicated story of the sub-prime crisis in the USA economy in a virtuoso style. Now, as sole writer and director, he attempts the tell the incredible account of how Dick Cheney somehow became the most […]

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What was the American civil war really about?

January 30th, 2019 by Roger Darlington

I have now viewed the second segment of BBC Four’s series “American History’s Biggest Fibs With Lucy Worsley” which dealt with the American Civil War.  Too many people think that the war was about the abolition of slavery. In fact, as Worseley reminds us, the war started when the Northern states insisted that new states should not […]

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Was the Munich Agreement of 1938 inevitable or avoidable?

January 23rd, 2019 by Roger Darlington

Before I read the historical novel “Munich” by Robert Harris, I decided to reread the 1988 book “Munich: The Eleventh Hour” by Robert Kee. Was the betrayal of Czechoslovakia by Britain and France in September 1938 inevitable? Or should we have gone to war against Nazi Germany then rather than in September 1939? You can […]

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What really happened in the American War of Independence?

January 22nd, 2019 by Roger Darlington

I enjoy reading history books and watching television programmes on history and I recently caught the first segment of BBC Four’s series “American History’s Biggest Fibs With Lucy Worsley” which dealt with the American War of Independence. I don’t like the way Worsley feels compelled to dress up in period costume, but she has an […]

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How did most of the Jews of Denmark manage to escape the Holocaust?

January 21st, 2019 by Roger Darlington

In October 1943, Adolf Hitler ordered that all the Jews in Nazi-occupied Denmark be arrested and deported. Yet the Danes managed to evacuate 7,220 of the country’s 7,800 Jews plus 686 non-Jewish spouses, by sea to nearby neutral Sweden. How was this possible? In the last couple of years, I’ve been trying to go to […]

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What does federalism mean in the context of the American political system?

January 6th, 2019 by Roger Darlington

In the Autumn of 2018, I attended a series of six lectures at London’s City Literary Institute which examined the history of the American federal system. I have used some of this information to update the section of my guide to the American political system that explains the nature of federalism which is so important […]

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