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History Today: August 2010

John Simkin

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Rome 1960: Making Sporting History: The modern Olympic movement was inspired by the classical world. But, says Richard Bosworth, when the Italian capital hosted the Games 50 years ago, the organisers had to offer an image of the city that also took account of its Christian, Renaissance and Fascist pasts.

The Woman in White: A Novel for Hysterical Times: Wilkie Collins’ haunting mystery of false identity and female instability reflected one of the lunacy panics of the age. Sarah Wise looks at three events that inspired The Woman in White.

Rome: The Lure of the Orient: At the height of the Roman Empire, hundreds of merchant ships left Egypt every year to voyage through the Red Sea into the Indian Ocean, exchanging the produce of the Mediterranean for exotic eastern commodities. Raoul McLaughlin traces their pioneering journeys.

Kim Philby: Living a Lie: Almost everything written about and by Kim Philby is wrong, claims Boris Volodarsky. The Soviet spy and his KGB masters sought to exaggerate his successes against the West, beginning with the fictions that surround Philby’s first mission during the Spanish Civil War.

Chatham House and the Lessons of History: The Royal Institute of International Affairs, better known as Chatham House, celebrates its 90th birthday this summer. Roger Morgan looks at the organisation’s original aims and its pioneering role in the study of contemporary history.

Wyclif: Medieval Pacifist: During the Anglo-French conflicts that characterised the 14th century, the Oxford theologian John Wyclif challenged the ‘un-Christian’ pursuit of war and wealth. Yet, just like anti-war protesters today, Wyclif had little influence on Parliament or the king, writes Rory Cox.


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