In Search of William Tell

Seven hundred years ago, William Tell shot an arrow through an apple on his son's head and launched the struggle for Swiss independence. Or did he?


Mountain of the Lord

Beyond the war zone, Mount Sinai remains a refuge in a landscape of strife


Trouble in Paradise

The idyllic Mediterranean retreat of Corsica also harbors homegrown terrorists, bent on achieving the island's secession from France

"The Basque History of the World" By Mark Kurlansky


Yalta: Witness to History

When the Big Three —Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin —convened at this fabled Crimean seaside resort in 1945, the whole world was watching

Big Sur

Big Sur


Who the Devil is the Devil?

Cyprus Lives in Love and Strife

Despite ethnic tensions, today's tourists can't resist the past and present of this ancient Mediterranean crossroads

John Marshall by Henry Inman, 1832

Chief Justice Marshall Takes the Law in Hand

Upsetting Presidents and setting precedents, he helped forge a nation


The Man Who Dreamed Up Madeline

A dashing nonconformist himself, Ludwig Bemelmans conferred a winning waywardness on his headstrong heroine


Review of 'The Beggar and the Professor: A Sixteenth-Century Family Saga'


For Whom the Bell Tolled

In the Spanish Civil War, as a horrified world watched, the future of Europe seemed at stake

The British Library and St Pancras

Books, Books, Books, My Lord!

After 140 triumphant years as cultural icon, and 35 years of fuss, the Reading Room of the British Museum is now open at a new address


Declaring an Open Season on the Wisdom of the Ages

Under the stewardship of scholars Diderot and d'Alembert, the 18th-century's Encyclopédie championed fact and freedom of the intellect


He Huffed and He Puffed Et Voila! Un Chateau Redux

Richard Hurbain is no Bourbon, but with pail, shovel and plenty of true grit, he rescued an old castle from rack, ruin and red tape

George Sand

A Woman Writ Large in Our History and Hearts

The free-spirited author George Sand scandalized 19th-century Paris when she defied convention and pioneered an independent path for women


The Rise, and Fall, of a Fervid Third Party

In the 1850s, a burgeoning coalition of self- proclaimed nativists, or Know-Nothings, swept into office and called out for radical change


Rising From the Sea, the Mysterious Handwork of Giants

On the tiny Mediterranean islands of Malta, massive megaliths constitute a singular treasure: the oldest freestanding stone monuments


Let's Hear It for the Lowly Sound Bite!

In which it is amply demonstrated that the sound bite, long a pariah of pundits and pooh-bahs, is really a help meet to man


Where You Went if You Really Had to Get Unhitched

In the days when divorce was still a sin and a shame, the city of Reno grew rich and infamous, catering to domestic disharmony

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