Now I’m a Believer

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

The Very Reverend Hewlett Johnson, Dean of Canterbury from 1931 to 1963, looked as if he had been drawn by Osbert Lancaster. Long white hair sprouted from the edges of an otherwise bald dome; he wore a frock coat and gaiters; and in photographs he gazes at the camera with an expression of loveable whimsy. […]

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Star-Crossed Allies

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

Seen in retrospect, the Reagan–Thatcher relationship does not seem a difficult one. They had natural affinities, and easily developed a warm friendship. But at the time it was not so simple. In many ways it was like Churchill’s encounters with Roosevelt – friendly, even affectionate at times, but masking important differences of interest between the […]

The Mad Prophet and Mach the Knife

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

On 2 and 3 March 1498, the 29-year-old aspirant civil servant Niccolò Machiavelli (1469–1527) was among a crowd that gathered at the Convent of San Marco in Florence to hear a fiery sermon given by the Dominican friar Girolamo Savonarola (1452–98), recently excommunicated by Pope Alexander VI. Machiavelli described Savonarola’s apocalyptic preaching in a letter to […]

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