Archive for the ‘History’ Category


A review of “The Great Empires Of Asia” edited by Jim Masselos

April 29th, 2024 by Roger Darlington

Long before European powers encircled the globe, Asia was home to some of the greatest empires ever seen. This excellent work describes seven of those empires covering a wide range of geography and time. It does so in a concise and readable manner with each chapter having a short table of key dates and a […]

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How good is your Chinese history?

February 20th, 2024 by Roger Darlington

This week, it’s half-term in the town where my two granddaughters live and I’ve agreed to entertain each of them for a day. Today was the turn of the younger who is seven. I asked her what she’d learned at school recently and she told me that they had been studying the Shang Dynasty. Now […]

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Marking Holocaust Memorial Day

January 27th, 2024 by Roger Darlington

If you know something about history, if you have Jewish friends, if you’ve visited Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, today cannot pass without me remembering the Holocaust. You can remind yourself of some of the basic facts by reading my review of a book on the subject by a Jewish history teacher whom I met when he […]

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As we await the new blockbuster movie “Napoleon”, a reminder of who he was and how he met his Waterloo

November 18th, 2023 by Roger Darlington

The end of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th century witnessed nearly a quarter of a century of almost continuous war in Europe. The French Revolutionary Wars of 1793-1802 and the Napoleonic Wars of 1803 -1815 embroiled all the great European states and caused the death of between five and six million combatants […]

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Why did Scotland join with England in 1707?

October 22nd, 2023 by Roger Darlington

I sometimes wonder how well the peoples of the United Kingdom understand how that union was brought about and I really recommend the new BBC television series “Union” written and presented by David Olusoga. I am in Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital, for a few days. Today I went on a walking tour that I postponed from […]

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A new film honouring the lifesaving work of Nicholas Winton

October 14th, 2023 by Roger Darlington

This week saw a very special occasion as I walked the red carpet at London’s Royal Festival Hall and attended the European premiere of the British film “One Life”. The film tells the story of Nicholas Winton who, in 1939, saved the lives of 669 Jewish children by organising kindertransport from Czechoslovakia. I attended the […]

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Word of the day: pre-history

September 4th, 2023 by Roger Darlington

A friend recently told me that she was really interested in pre-history. I wondered how this term is defined and, of course, I found the explanation on Wikipedia: “Prehistory, also called pre-literary history, is the period of human history between the first known use of stone tools by hominins c. 3.3 million years ago and the […]

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A review of a book about the creation of Czechoslovakia at the end of the First World War

August 6th, 2023 by Roger Darlington

“Dreams Of A Great Small Nation” by Kevin J McNamara I have been visiting Prague regularly since 1988 and I have often crossed the Legion’s Bridge opposite the National Theatre, but it was only in 2023 when I visited a charity shop in Manchester that I found that there was a recent (2016) English-language work […]

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A review of the important book “Empireland” by Sathnam Sanghera

August 1st, 2023 by Roger Darlington

The history of Britain is not simply an account of what has happened in Britain but of Britain’s action’s outside its island borders. We know that when it comes to wars, especially when we were victors, as in the Napoleonic-era battles of Trafalgar and Waterloo and our decisive role in the two World Wars. But […]

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A review of the Len Deighton novel “Winter”

June 8th, 2023 by Roger Darlington

Sometimes a book sits on the shelf for such a long time before it is read. This novel was bought for me in 1988 but it took me until 2023 before I actually read it. The Winter of the title is not a season of the year but the name of a German family and […]

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