History

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In our era – like others – outrage and hyperbole seem to be par for the course. jenny downing

Moral panic is sown to make us scaredy-cats – that’s nothing new

In our era of 24-hour news, outrage and hyperbole seem to be par for the course. But as Sr John Madden's 1909 "gravest peril" speech illustrates, overblown moral panic, to fit an agenda, is nothing new.
Blowing up the desert – and people’s minds: the first atom bomb test in 1945. US Government

Radiation in the postwar American mind: from wonder to worry

The first atom bomb test seventy years ago today marks the start of a change in Americans' thinking about radiation. On balance, our nuclear anxieties endure today.
Children develop based on their interactions with people, books and cultural artefacts. History textbooks could have a great deal to teach them about empathy. From www.shutterstock.com

How history textbooks can be used to build kids' empathy

Are history textbooks constructing the past in a way that allows learners to develop empathy by walking in many different people's shoes?
Wolf Hall is based on historical events – but its producers don’t claim to be telling a true story. BBC/Company Productions Ltd

Historical fiction on TV is equally about the here and now

Historical representation is far more complex than merely providing the facts – which is why debate continues to rage about the authenticity of popular televised historical dramas such as Game of Thrones and Banished.
‘Doctor, whenever I get up I feel dizzy for half an hour.’ ‘Then wait for half an hour before getting up.’ Alexander the Great trust to physician Phillip, Henryk Siemiradzki

Five things the ancient Greeks can teach us about medicine today

Medicine has changed beyond recognition in the last 2,000 years. So why should we still care what the founders of Western medicine thought?
If their deaths fighting for Islamic State in Iraq are confirmed, Khaled Sharrouf and Mohamed Elomar would be far from the first foreign fighters to be killed in the history of combat. Facebook

Foreign fighters aren’t a new problem, so heed history’s lessons

Foreign fighters have always posed a dual challenge: how to stop them going and what to do if they return. History offers lessons on managing these problems, including that it's hard to stop them leaving.
The British have pulled out all stops to mark the anniversary of Waterloo. Michel van Reysen

Have a think before going to do that Waterloo that you do so well

The most spectacular of the Waterloo celebrations will be a massive re-enactment on the actual battle site, involving more than 5,000 re-enactors, including 300 horses and 100 canon. What's that all about?
EP Thompson’s The Making of the English Working Class brought narrative methods to bear on historical scholarship. Wellcome Trust/WIkimedia Commons

Historical texts as literature? We do well to praise EP Thompson

There's no shortage of historical texts, but only a handful are lauded as literature. We can learn valuable lessons by revisiting EP Thompson's The Making of the English Working Class.
Kate Grenville, with The Secret River, found herself in the middle of a debate at the heart of history. Chris Boland/Flickr

On the frontier: the intriguing dance of history and fiction

'History and fiction journey together and separately into the past; they are a tag team, sometimes taking turns, sometimes working in tandem.' Enjoy the second part of our series, Writing History.

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