history archive

Old House of Commons. Image courtesy of http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/89/House_of_Commons_Microcosm.jpg - some rights reserved

Do MPs speak too much?

21 August 2014
Blackwood’s Magazine (November 1833) decried the impact of the Great Reform Act on British politics, saying it had brought forth MPs who spent too much time giving speeches: The Reform Bill … has augmented two-fold that class of orators who spend their breath and not their money in securing their places [i.e. constituencies], and whose […]
Humans Need Not Apply thumbnail

Humans Need Not Apply

19 August 2014
Watch the new fun (yet educational) video from CGP Grey, which includes a spot-on section about driverless cars and also gives a mention to the robots that are now writing news stories:   You can also watch this on YouTube.  
Tower of London poppies by Paul Cummins

A beautiful, moving poppy display at the Tower of London

15 August 2014 , ,
Paul Cummins's ceramic poppies at the Tower of London, installed to mark the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the Great War, manages to be both accessible and meaningful.
FOOTNOTE ‡: Are US Military Bases and Embassies American Soil? thumbnail

FOOTNOTE ‡: Are US Military Bases and Embassies American Soil?

14 July 2014
Watch the new fun (yet educational) video from CGP Grey:   You can also watch this on YouTube.  
American Empire thumbnail

American Empire

12 July 2014
Watch the new fun (yet educational) video from CGP Grey:   You can also watch this on YouTube.  
Secret Warriors by Taylor Downing

Secret Warriors: key scientists, code-breakers and propagandists of the Great War

7 July 2014 ,
Taylor Downing’s book promises much but in the end doesn’t quite deliver. It is packed full with stories about talented individuals whose inventions, innovations and improvements not only changed the way wars are fought but had a huge knock-on impact on civilian life too. The book has a welcome broad approach to what counts as […]
Kim Philby - by Tim Milne

Kim Philby: The Unknown Story of the KGB’s Master-Spy

14 June 2014 , ,
Tim Milne’s account of his life as a secret intelligence officer, including a colleague of Kim Philby, is perhaps best described as an interesting footnote. For anyone completely new to the story of Kim Philby’s MI6 career and treachery, Milne’s account does not fully cover the ground of the main events. But if you already […]
The Enemy at the Gate - book cover

The Enemy at the Gate: Habsburgs, Ottomans and the Battle for Europe

13 June 2014
Andrew Wheatcroft's history of the Great Siege of Vienna in 1683, The Enemy at the Gate: Habsburgs, Ottomans and the Battle for Europe, is a great account of one of the key moments of conflict between Christianity and Islam in Europe.
Brave New World: first edition cover

Aldous Huxley: When an author is just too successful

15 May 2014 , ,
I’m sure I must have read Brave New World years ago as there’s a copy on my bookshelf and I’m as likely to put an unread book on my shelves as I am to remove a book from my shelves and bin it. I trust my filing system over my memory.
UK National Archives logo

National Archives start storing government social media output

8 May 2014
The National Archives will begin to archive tweets and You Tube videos published by UK central government departments from their official Twitter and YouTube social media platforms.