Archive for the ‘History’ Category


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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Word of the day: gobbet

February 26th, 2019 by Roger Darlington

A gobbet — from the Middle English word for a chunk of meat — is an extract from a primary source put forward for analysis. I’m doing a history course at the City Literary Institute in central London and our lecturer assigns us a gobbet each week to consider. It is literally a ‘chunk’ of […]

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The making of American power (1): the end of the Second World War

February 23rd, 2019 by Roger Darlington

This week, I started a new 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 1 of the course discussed the nature of state power and the post-war reconstruction of Europe. State […]

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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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