Archive for the ‘History’ Category


How can we summarise the history of the United States? Let me try …

May 29th, 2019 by Roger Darlington

My review of “A Little History Of The United States” by James West Davidson This is not just a short account (300 pages) but it is conveniently broken up into 40 brief chapters and the writing style is very accessible, even conversational, with an emphasis on personalities and stories rather than dates and statistics. The overall […]

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Have you ever heard of the city of Potosi?

May 13th, 2019 by Roger Darlington

I am currently reading “A Little History Of The United States” by James West Davidson. In one of the very early chapters, he makes a mention of a place called Potosi located in what is now Bolivia. When the Spanish conquered Latin America, they discovered a huge deposit of silver at Potosi which inconveniently is […]

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What was the population of America before it was ‘discovered’ by Europeans?

May 9th, 2019 by Roger Darlington

I am currently reading “A Little History Of The United States” by James West Davidson. At my age, I prefer to read short books so that there is a reasonable chance that I’ll finish them. Davidson explains that, when in 1492, Christopher Columbus ‘discovered’ America, around 8 million Indians lived in North America. At the […]

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The night that the United States bombed a Chinese embassy

May 7th, 2019 by Roger Darlington

Twenty years ago today, on 7 May 1999, during the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia (Operation Allied Force), five US Joint Direct Attack Munition guided bombs hit the People’s Republic of China embassy in the Belgrade district of New Belgrade, killing three Chinese reporters and outraging the Chinese public. According to the U.S. government, the intention had been to bomb the nearby Yugoslav Federal Directorate for […]

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The making of American power (4): military dictatorships in Latin America

March 16th, 2019 by Roger Darlington

This week, I attended week 4 of an eight-week evening class at London”s City Literary Institute. The title is “The making of American power: US foreign policy from the Cold War to Trump” and our lecturer is Jack Gain. Week 4 of the course was about the many interventions that the US has made in Central and […]

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The making of American power (3): the war in Vietnam

March 14th, 2019 by Roger Darlington

Last week, I attended week 3 of an eight-week evening class at London”s City Literary Institute. The title is “The making of American power: US foreign policy from the Cold War to Trump” and our lecturer is Jack Gain. Week 3 of the course was on the war in Vietnam. I was reminded of my […]

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A review of “A Short History Of Europe” by Simon Jenkins

March 10th, 2019 by Roger Darlington

“My young granddaughter did not think that this book looked ‘short’ but, at around 300 pages to tell the story of some two and half millennia, this can truly be termed a concise history and Jenkins has done a splendid job in making it very accessible and immensely readable. The alliterative subtitle of the work […]

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Ever heard of the Thucydides gap?

March 5th, 2019 by Roger Darlington

In foreign policy discussions, this is a deadly trap first identified by the ancient Greek historian Thucydides. As he explained, “It was the rise of Athens and the fear that this instilled in Sparta that made war inevitable.” The past 500 years have seen 16 cases in which a rising power threatened to displace a […]

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The shameful history of Vichy France

March 4th, 2019 by Roger Darlington

This weekend, together with 36 others, I attended a one-day course on Vichy France delivered by Sebastien Ardouin at London’s City Literary Institute. It was an immensely informative course backed up with a handout of 24 pages. Vichy France was the so-called Free Zone of the country which operated from 1940 to 1944 under the […]

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The making of American power (2): the Cold War

March 1st, 2019 by Roger Darlington

This week, I attended week 2 of an eight-week evening class at London”s City Literary Institute. The title is “The making of American power: US foreign policy from the Cold War to Trump” and our lecturer is Jack Gain. Week 2 of the course addressed Cold War power politics with the Soviet Union. We talked […]

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