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Art, History and Pandemics with Tom Holland

podcasts

The many meanings of culture

essays

From broken windows to bulldozers

essays

Leadership in crisis – why the West needs Plato more than ever

essays

Meritocracy v the people

essays

God is back

essays

Philippa Fawcett – wrangler extraordinaire

portraits

The strange birth of the European

essays

Cookie Policy

page

Victor Hugo’s ideal of Europe

essays

Life in Venice

notebook

Rodin’s eternal peace

notebook

Resisting the saccage of Paris

notebook

Turin’s touch of the divine

notebook

Anna de Noailles — a prodigious life

portraits

Chamonix’s Sea of Ice — warning to a warming world

notebook

Finding the future in France Profonde

notebook

Donnez moi un break

notebook

On mothers and politicians

notebook

The quest for Vino and Veritas

notebook

The intoxicating humanism of Truffaut’s Les 400 Coups

notebook

Illuminated by Sidney Lumet, beyond reasonable doubt

notebook

Casting a vote for democracy

notebook

The enduring spirit of Cannes

notebook

Bad history — why the Treaty of Versailles is an imperfect guide to future Russia-West relations

notebook

Working From Anywhere — the holiday never stops

notebook

A very modern revival

notebook

In search of civilisation

essays

The end of history ends

essays

Russian history rhymes — from Soviet collapse to Putin’s folly

essays

Myths and realities of Putinism and NATO expansion

essays

The importance of the individual in history

essays

Living with the Great Plague of 1665

essays

Nehemiah Wallington – Puritan chronicler had far less fun than Pepys

portraits

Parallel visionaries – Hilla Rebay and Hilma af Klint

essays

Solzhenitsyn, Putin and the historical myth-making that drives Russian imperialism

notebook

The empty metropolis

essays

Æthelstan and the forging of a United Kingdom of England 

essays

The ancient roots of the modern holy war

essays

The Black Ditch lives

notebook

The limits of scientism

notebook

City-states are back

notebook

Giovannino Guareschi: Italian Orwell

portraits

Crowded out

notebook

Italia 1990s: footballing glory turned to dust

notebook

The Ettrick Shepherd stands watch

notebook

The lost art of listening

notebook

That was once upon a time in Iraq

notebook

The secret life of hemp

notebook

The enduring spirit of cricket

notebook

Goodbye, Bella Ciao

notebook

Blinded by the light

notebook

Italy: Mother of all invention

notebook

Why we make lists

notebook

Learning in Italy

notebook

In search of Proustian little moments that make life worthwhile

notebook

The cloak-and-dagger intrigue of Italian presidential elections

notebook

Beppe Fenoglio: A Complex Centenary

notebook

Ernest Benn against the Census and the forces of Bumbledom

notebook

Italy the mediator’s crush on Russia

notebook

Bat-and-ball-games — an Italian obsession

notebook

Real Tennis and the elemental thrill of ball games

notebook

The Balkan Question

essays

In defence of Denethor

notebook

New Turkey’s old politics

essays

Great Books: E.M. Forster’s The Machine Stops

book-review

Konstantin Tsiolkovsky – Rocket Man

portraits

Yugoslavia and the ghosts of nationalism

notebook

Macron’s France is remaking itself again

notebook

The flag wars are here to stay

essays

The Indo-Pacific is an idea whose time has come

notebook

Putin needs ‘General Frost’ on his side to win in Ukraine

notebook

The nuclear dilemma: deterrence works, up to a point

essays

Putin’s new Iron Curtain — will democracies stand up to authoritarian states?

notebook

What Putin learnt from NATO’s 1999 intervention in Kosovo

notebook

Machiavelli and the benefits of civil strife

essays

It came from outer space

essays

Champagne supernova

notebook

The war against printing

essays

Joe Biden and the attractions of Augustine

notebook

What should we do when the terrorists go quiet?

essays

Wise warnings matter even more in this age of pandemics and big data

essays

Drunk and disorderly: Michelangelo’s Bacchus

notebook

A contested Afghanistan could be even worse

notebook

Why Jihadis are drawn to Khorasan

notebook

Guittone d’Arezzo – Dante’s forgotten muse

portraits

General James Oglethorpe — a man of uncommon vivacity

portraits

An innovative analysis of global terrorism — Western Jihadism: A Thirty Year History by Jytte Klausen review

book-review

Knowing Russia was going to invade Ukraine was not enough

notebook

Element of surprise — the West needs to be more unpredictable

essays

Keeping it simple: how technology shapes the terror threat

essays

The shifting fortunes of IS-Khorasan

book-review

Why 16 billion cortical neurons are not enough

essays

Epicharis — defiance unbounded

portraits

Rediscovering Germany

notebook

The other side of the hill

essays

A little history of the modern Middle East

essays

Is our religion of love doing more harm than good?

essays

Football’s most perfect meritocracy

notebook

When Dickens made his masterpiece

essays

How Russia and Iran have united in antipathy towards the West

essays

Weimar on the West Coast

notebook

The beauty of brocade paper

notebook

The endless frontier

essays

What drives Vladimir Putin?

essays

A ship without a captain — Collapse: The Fall of the Soviet Union by Vladislav Zubok review

book-review

Khorloogiin Choibalsan — Stalin of the steppe

portraits

Russia and the West – the path not taken

essays

George IV: a very decadent Prince

essays

Binding order and liberty: Tocqueville the politician

essays

The honourable men of the House of Morgan – J.P Morgan & Co and the Crisis of Capitalism by Martin Horn review

book-review

Jacques Rueff’s quest for monetary order

essays

Did civilisation add to the quality of human life?

essays

Akinpelu Obisesan — a gentleman diarist in colonial Africa

portraits

On the myth of multiculturalism

essays

Digital dictatorship: a brutal examination of the UAE

book-review

George Kennedy Young: Banker, Writer, Soldier, Spy

portraits

The world that Vasco da Gama built

essays

China’s neverending pigstory

notebook

The strong armed philosophy of the Chinese state isn’t new

essays

The different ways to know the gods in Ancient Greece

essays

Did nationalism exist in the classical world?

essays

Does evolution have a moral or spiritual dimension?

essays

The Napoleonic myth of la méritocratie

notebook

Historical decadence — The Persians: The Age of the Great Kings by Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones review

book-review

Klára Dán — esoteric intellect who wrote the first modern computer code

portraits

Between Westernisers and Slavophiles – the search for Russia’s soul

essays

Russia in 2020: alternative scenarios of the near future

essays

Alternative international orders: a modern Holy Alliance for the twenty-first century

essays

The return of great power diplomacy

essays

Crisis and the creation of great art

essays

The future of war: embrace the new, remember the old

book-review

Human behaviour will still determine who wins wars

notebook

Ukraine is the latest disaster in a long history of Russian military dysfunction

notebook

Basil Liddell Hart and the Art of Peace

portraits

Can warfare ever be considered modern?

essays

The Nation in Arms: Myth or reality?

essays

Lawrence of Arabia on war: How the past haunts the present

essays

The American dream making a come back

notebook

Étienne Clavière – the revolutionary who hated revolution

portraits

History shows revolutions are a disaster

essays

Between frustrated Wagnerians and unsatisfied Schopenhauerians – what does Nietzsche reveal about decadence?

essays

In defence of the Habsburgs

essays

In search of Lebensraum

essays

Roman geopolitics — an exercise in myth-making

essays

Why the idea of Carthage survived Roman conquest

essays

Can democracy and genetic engineering co-exist?

essays

How to fix the future, Estonian style

essays

John Perry Barlow and the struggle for the independence of cyberspace

essays

William Shockley — accidental inventor of Silicon Valley

portraits

The transformation of Mitteleuropa

essays

Grey matters

notebook

Tsiang Tingfu – pre-revolutionary China’s last bridge with the West

portraits

China rethinking its role

essays

Swedish leaders and a lesson in hubris

notebook

The cult of Jacob Boehme

portraits

The lost allure of alchemy

notebook

On the art of metallurgy

notebook

How war created the nation state and yet could destroy it

essays

A government of laws

essays

Policy shaped by personal conviction — False Prophets: British leaders’ fateful fascination with the Middle East from Suez to Syria by Nigel Ashton review

book-review

Russia digging in for a long war with the West

notebook

How Russia has upgraded its military strategy by drawing deep on history

notebook

Sir Alexander Cadogan — Churchill’s indispensable man

portraits

Modern France and the ghosts of the past

essays

Seeing the big picture — how Russia’s past guides its grand strategy

essays

Empire and development in First Millennium Europe

essays

Ukraine on the move: a century of migration

essays

The joy of books

book-review

From the Silk Road to the information superhighway

essays

Geopolitics never went away for the United States

essays

The Sahara by armchair

notebook

Anna Komnene – the princess who chronicled Byzantium’s changing fortunes

portraits

This crisis has the capacity to be apocalyptic

essays

The polymath in the age of specialisation

essays

Thomas Gage – a man of unintended consequences

portraits

Statecraft for an age of blood and iron — The Strategy of Denial: American Defence in an Age of Great Power Conflict by Elbridge Colby review

book-review

Thucydides was a Realist

essays

Four steps to surviving the Russia crisis

essays

Unipolar America: another imperial delusion ends

essays

To avoid a dictatorship of scholars

essays

Priaulx Rainier: Fearless and pioneering composer

portraits

The march of the sovereign individuals

notebook

Should we be paranoid about the androids?

notebook

Charles Johnston: British diplomat who used a poet’s eye to fix the final phase of empire

portraits

The shadow of 1912: history points to a GOP split

notebook

Brendan Bracken – ‘more Churchillian than Churchill’

portraits

The eighteenth-century technological awakening of artist adventurers

essays

Amanda McKittrick Ros – romance unbounded

portraits

Troubled waters

essays

Enid Bagnold — trailblazing novelist whose greatest novel launched Elizabeth Taylor’s career

portraits

The hidden lives of Samurai women

essays

Cubans are losing their fear

notebook

The old republic of Europe

essays

The story of the Jesuits — how the Society of Jesus charted the world

essays

Christianity in a cold climate – Jesuit encounters with Japan

essays

On the medicalisation of the mind

notebook

The triumph of the Motherland

essays

Ancient creations: from the Antikythera Mechanism to Western music

essays

Humanism matters in the age of AI

essays

Great Books: Voss by Patrick White

book-review

Fritz Mannheimer – stockbroker of peace

portraits

Excavating Londinium — London in the Roman World by Dominic Perring review

book-review

What the Silicon Valley idealists got wrong

essays

Missing the boat in a broad canvas — Twelve Caesars: Images of Power from the Ancient World to the Modern by Mary Beard review

book-review

Ancient scandals and power struggles: Succession’s unexpected playfulness with ancient history

notebook

‘Make it New’ — the rewards of novelty in ancient literature

notebook

Decline in three dimensions

essays

The perils of the quest for immortality

notebook

Fantasy in Middle Eastern nation-making

essays

Rethinking the Meiji Restoration

essays

Was Horace a town or a country mouse?

notebook

Eureka — what’s the truth about Archimedes’ cry?

notebook

Geopolitics and the Mongol Empire

essays

Will the real Lesbia please stand up?

notebook

Aspasia of Miletus – queen of the Athenian salon

portraits

Suffering — the price of being alive: an Islamic perspective

essays

Nafissa Sid Cara — an ambiguous pioneer for Muslim women

portraits

The carrot and the stick — geo-economics and Russian revisionism

essays

Dispatched to Donbas to honour frontline heroes

notebook

HIMARS permit Ukrainians to fight how they know best — a strategy of corrosion

notebook

Duality, determinism and demography: The Greeks on geopolitics

essays

Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan — for Xi, it’s personal

notebook

A collision of rival visions — Empire and Jihad: The Anglo-Arab Wars of 1870-1920 by Neil Faulkner review

book-review

The shadow of Chiang Kai-shek and the struggle for Taiwanese identity

notebook

The moderate life of Decimus Magnus Ausonius

portraits

Chiang Ching-kuo — dictator or democrat?

portraits

Japanese architecture – building the impossible

essays

Inventing the Samurai

essays

Rewiring the world

essays

Globalisation: why it went into retreat

essays

American democracy can help fix America’s broken society

essays

The Joint Intelligence Committee: Reading the Russian mindset

essays

What is England really made of?

book-review

Napoleonic Europe: how the Emperor built a continent

essays

Time running out in China’s waiting game — The Long Game: China’s Grand Strategy to Displace American Order by Rush Doshi review

book-review

Towards a Westphalia for the Middle East

essays

Information loss

essays

On dandyism

essays

For the love of wine

essays

In defence of the city-state

essays

Great Books: Billy Lee Brammer’s The Gay Place

book-review

Best of Engelsberg Ideas in 2021

essays

Sophie Scholl — still the White Rose blooms

notebook

Where Cambridge leads Britain should follow

notebook

Welcome to Engelsberg Ideas

essays

The promise of Greenland

notebook

Mary of Burgundy – princess testament to doomed youth

portraits

The squandered promise of Willie Wilde

portraits

Margaret Thatcher – the fall, thirty years on

essays

Shaping society — The Making of Our Urban Landscape by Geoffrey Tyack review

book-review

Neverending story

notebook

Christopher Lasch – contrarian critic of America’s elites

portraits

How the British made the NHS their religion

essays

Meet the Zoomer generation

essays

The great beauty of Donatello

essays

Austria: nation, state or empire?

essays

Macaulay and the lost optimism of Victorian history

essays

Waugh’s war

notebook

Untold knowledge: the price of deforestation

essays

You are not as clever as you think

essays

Inside the disinformation forever war

essays

Why we don’t remember pandemics

notebook

Challenging the ‘Great Reset’ theory of pandemics

essays

Traitorous Blake motivated by Cold War convictions

essays

Baudelaire grappling with God

notebook

Alexander Helphand — impresario of revolutionary disaster who smoothed Lenin’s return to Russia

portraits

In search of Narnia

notebook

‘Everything is Ukraine’ — Ukraine’s long search for a homeland

essays

Raïssa Maritain: more than a mystic

portraits

A garden of schizophrenics

essays

Maria Antonia of Bavaria — Electress of many talents

portraits

Islam and the contingency of politics

essays

History while it’s still smoking

essays

Sweden and Finland forced into the NATO fold by Russia

notebook

Great Books: The Golden String by Bede Griffiths

book-review

Hostile neighbours and a parallel path: why Japan and Germany are rearming

essays

Yosano Akiko — a great of modern Japanese poetry

portraits

Rosaleen Norton — joyful contrarian and occultist turned pioneer for free speech

portraits

The fake history of civilisational states

essays

On betrayal

essays

The human need for war

essays

What makes a man die for his country?

essays

What is mistake theory and can it save the humanities?

essays

How Arcadia was won and lost and found again

essays

Tender is the night

notebook

The enduring spirit of Christmas

notebook

Upstairs, downstairs, demolished – the changing fate of the English country house

essays

Lucrezia Orsina Vizzana — singular and strikingly modern composer

portraits

Her Great Quality

notebook

The British have lost the art of eating out

notebook

Curators painting themselves into a corner

notebook

On the dangers of sleep

notebook

On beards

notebook

What the Romans did for fun

notebook

Dürer in Venice

notebook

The strange death of the art school

notebook

Pittacus – the good tyrant

portraits

Technology transfer across the ages

essays

Uruk and the origins of the sacred economy

essays

Why do democracies decay?

essays

René of Anjou — an Arthurian king

portraits

Globalisation — lessons from George Canning on how to remake trade

essays

Five Eyes: the past, present and future of the world’s key intelligence alliance

essays

Head, hand and heart

essays

Blessed are the cheesemakers

notebook

On guard: the contemporary salience of military fortification

essays

The restless search for fun wars

essays

Ukraine and Russia: how closeness turned into war

essays

America – nation of myth-makers

essays

Covid-19 and the moral case for personal judgement

essays

The Future of Europe: secular but not secularist, diverse but not divided

essays

Reassessing Christian history

essays

How ideology transformed the early modern individual

essays

Do we know the truth about the Thirty Years’ War?

essays

George Orwell’s idea of technology

notebook

George Orwell’s idea of civilisation

essays

Putin bets the Russia house on the Donbas rustbelt

essays

Outside in, inside out: Russia as an empire on the periphery

essays

The merrie histories of R.J. Unstead

notebook

Fighting the good fight

notebook

Jesse Ventura – the wrestling governor who blazed a trail for Trump

portraits

Olympe de Gouges: the recalcitrant revolutionary

portraits

A world of nations and states is here to stay

essays

Edward Daniel Clarke – collector of the world

portraits

The first Yugoslav

notebook

Who are the modern Greeks?

notebook

Searching for Castalia

notebook

Great Books: Ivo Andric’s The Bridge on the River Drina

book-review

On ostracism

notebook

Dreaming of Trebizond

notebook

The other Middle Sea

notebook

Philip Thicknesse — libertine turned ornamental hermit

portraits

The new Right Stuff

notebook

The Gospel of Thomas: casting a new light on Early Christianity

essays

Confucius, competition and modern China’s misuse of meritocracy

essays

The aesthetic harmony of Japanese nature

essays

Artists of the floating world

essays

The war for hearts and minds: the evolution of al-Qaeda’s media strategy

essays

Why Jihadists write poetry

essays

Making sense of the Yemen War

essays

Who’s seeing your data and why?

essays

Conducting is Finland’s soft superpower

notebook

The enemy within — the Russians filling Ukrainian homes

notebook

Jaan Kross — a writer’s route to happiness

portraits

The tragic tradition of Ukraine’s Sviatohirsk Lavra

notebook

The ghost of Olof Palme: how support for the Kurds is complicating Sweden’s NATO accession

notebook

The miracle of refugee musicians

notebook

Show’s over: the case against a cultural boycott of Russia

notebook

Careless posts cost lives

notebook

The dissident’s dilemma

essays

The Soviet military was a hollow colossus

essays

China’s takeover of Western capitalism

essays

War displaces Ukrainians – again

notebook

Moina Mathers — High Priestess of the Belle Époque

portraits

Adam Smith: the first anti-capitalist?

essays

How US policy failure post-9/11 undermined international order

essays

The limits of human perfectibility and progress

notebook

The political value of modesty

notebook

How to speak when speech isn’t free

notebook

Apology for a woman writing

notebook

Nicias of Athens: the peace-loving general

portraits

Democracy in crisis: Lessons from Ancient Athens

essays

Authority without knowledge

essays

Inside the Collective Unconscious

essays

The two Elizabeths

notebook

Janusz Korczak — the Old Doctor of Warsaw

portraits

Where has ‘the good life’ gone?

essays

The century of the gene

essays

When did sexual decadence lose its association with social decline?

essays

Running Up That Hill: Origin Story

notebook

God Bless America: A Short History of the Super Bowl Halftime Show

notebook

The beauty of municipal swimming pools

notebook

This woman’s work

notebook

Cats rule

notebook

We were on a break

notebook

Conversationalist in brick

notebook

Babylon-upon-Thames

notebook

More than the sum of our parts

notebook

Classics in the cul-de-sacs

notebook

On Richelieu’s cats

notebook

Dunwich’s very English apocalypse

notebook

Solitude standing

notebook

Genius has its limits

notebook

The countryside captured the novel

notebook

Why bittersweet beats SOUR

notebook

Nothing like a midsummer sacrifice

notebook

The original women in STEM

notebook

Mimi Baez Fariña – life beyond the 60s

portraits

Who is the real Lady Whistledown?

notebook

The many meanings of Georgia O’Keeffe

notebook

Singing Byrd in a cage

notebook

Thank goodness for gardens

notebook

Stuck in Herbert’s Temple

notebook

Good poetry in a crisis

notebook

These four colourful walls

notebook

Milton vs the echo chamber

notebook

First orders please

notebook

Any old way you use it

notebook

From Neolithic shafts to skyscrapers

notebook

Future proof

essays

Learning from the big, bold 1990s debates over the post-Cold War world

notebook

EI Weekly Listen — Fairy Tales of Statehood: the politics of sacred land and divine-kings by Jessica Frazier

podcasts

EI Weekly Listen — Love as Religion by Simon May

podcasts

Great Books: Albert Camus’ Le premier homme

book-review

Nepal’s shifting loyalties — All Roads Lead North: China, Nepal and the Conquest for the Himalayas by Amish Raj Mulmi review

book-review

EI Weekly Listen — The dark side to loving a group by Harvey Whitehouse

podcasts

The lasting historical appeal of the elephant

notebook

The things gained in translation

notebook

EI Weekly Listen — Fantasy in Middle Eastern nation-making by Nathan Shachar

podcasts

At the Place du Jeu de Balle

notebook

Silent night: how we used to sleep

notebook

History Lessons — Adrian Wooldridge on the history of meritocracy

podcasts

Kids these days

notebook

Robert Adam and building beautiful

essays

America’s problem with unconventional warfare

essays

Geopolitics — the key to understanding Russia foreign policy

essays

Bruegel had a Worldview

notebook

Hans Rott — a symphonic stepping stone

portraits

The problem of power in Russia

essays

Why do politicians get energy policy wrong?

essays

Great Books: ‘L’Ensorcelée’ by Jules Barbey d’Aurevilly

book-review

Essaying a genre

notebook

Joseph Leclerc du Tremblay – the original éminence grise

portraits

The secrets of the special relationship

book-review

Doing our duty at home and abroad — A Duty of Care: Britain Before and After Covid by Peter Hennessy review

book-review

Do we really know what war is anymore? — The Weaponisation of Everything: A Field Guide To The New Way of War by Mark Galeotti review

book-review

The intelligent use of history — what is the past good for?

essays

The Spy and the State

essays

The many ways of seeing Saint Monica

portraits

The City of God: on Augustine’s vision of Empire

essays

Survival lessons from Ancient Rome

essays

Civilisation and Auschwitz are not a contradiction in terms

essays

Joseph Galloway – the forgotten Founding Father

portraits

Continuity Thatcher: rescuing a complex leader from historical cliché

essays

Putin’s Poison Pill

notebook

Putin’s Game: How did so many in the West get Russia so wrong?

essays

Dealing with the past – a Russian history

essays

The Eurasian Century, Part I: What Mackinder Knew

essays

The Eurasian Century, Part II: The Great Black Tornado

essays

The Eurasian Century, Part III: The Totalitarian Challenge

essays

The Eurasian Century, Part IV: Cold War

essays

The Eurasian Century, Part V: Beijing’s Gambit

essays

Chemical weapons and war: the growing threat

notebook

The Platinum Jubilee — the joys of Pomp and Circumstance

notebook

Remembering Wilhelm Furtwängler

notebook

Star Wars — the mythos of our times

notebook

Angels among us

notebook

When King Cetshwayo came to London

notebook

Inauguration and the power of American ritual

notebook

Nijinsky’s last dance

notebook

Painting by numbers

notebook

John le Carré: the timeless allure of a true literary great

notebook

Investigating Heraclitean fire

notebook

When artists retrain

notebook

Like so many Alexanders

notebook

Oswald Spengler – an intellectual life

portraits

The dark side to loving a group

essays

Great Books: Charles Dickens’ Hard Times

book-review

Is energy the god of progress?

notebook

The geopolitical fight to come over green energy

essays

Geopolitics of a pandemic

essays

In praise of the ellipsis

notebook

The art and science of intelligence in war

essays

The forgotten lessons of First World War strategy

essays

Counting the cost of the 1918-19 pandemic

essays

Did America lose the right stuff?

notebook

Equality – what is it good for?

essays

When disaster strikes

essays

The birth of theosophy

essays

The indispensable foreign correspondent

essays

Four reasons to study Polybius — most practical of ancient historians

essays

Battling for the best and brightest: immigration, great power rivalry, and the history of talent importation

essays

Why applied history matters

essays

Haiti and the pathos of history

essays

Bucha atrocities are an intrinsic part of the Russian way of war

notebook

Crisis, settlement, or containment — what is to be done on Russia?

essays

How the West can drive a wedge between India and Russia

essays

Putin’s war with the Church

notebook

The Middle East: Kissinger’s masterpiece?

book-review