Jane Struthers looks at the history of wassailing in this extract from The Book of Christmas. English is a fascinating melting pot of languages acquired from other countries, especially those whose kings once occupied our throne. So it’s hardly surprising that the word ‘wassail’ is thought to have come from the Old Norse ves heill, which […]
In Hello World, Alice Rawsthorn explores the relationship design plays in society, and how it influences our lives as one of the most powerful forces that can determine how we feel and what we do, often without our noticing. In this extract, the role of the colour green is explored, from its use as a colour denoting environmental causes, to the irony of it being one of the least natural colours in the man-made world.
To this day, the Ministry of Defence responds to all enquiries about submarine operations with a simple phrase: “The Ministry of Defence does not comment on submarine operations.” Written with privileged access to both documents and personnel, The Silent Deep is the first authoritative history of the British submarine service since the end of the […]
Read an extract from The Book of Magic, Brian Copenhaver’s new anthology of the history of the tradition of magic from antiquity to the enlightenment, in which seventeenth century witch hunter Matthew Hopkins describes his methods of discovering witches in his Essex village.
In The Face of Britain, art historian and journalist Simon Schama explores the history of British portraiture, and unveils the secrets of some of the nation’s best loved works of art. In this extract, Schama tells the story of Jane Morris (nee Burden), and the artists infatuated by her. It was not the wandering armadillos, the kangaroos, the […]