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Academic Insights for the Thinking World

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The Great War letters of an Oxford family

Living memory of the First World War is rapidly slipping away. During this centenary year, letters uniquely offer a glimpse into what life was really like at the time. In this collection of extracts from letters written by the Slater family, they deal with the pressures of separation, rationing, deaths of friends, and a growing fear that their eldest son would grow to fight on the Western Front.

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“How absurd!” The Occupation of Paris 1940-1944

By David Ball
In the Epilogue to his penetrating, well-documented study, Nazi Paris, Allan Mitchell writes “Parisians had endured the trying, humiliating, and essentially absurd experience of a German Occupation.” Odd as it may sound, “absurd” is exactly right. Both the word and the sense of absurdity come up again and again in the diary kept by a remarkable French intellectual during those “dark years,” as he called them.

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A reading list on the French Revolution for Bastille Day

The Bastille once stood in the heart of Paris — a hulking, heavily-fortified medieval fortress, which was used as a state prison. During the 18th century, it played a key role in enforcing the government censorship, and had become increasingly unpopular, symbolizing the oppressiveness and the costly inefficiency of the reigning monarchy and the ruling classes.

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Countries of the World Cup: Germany

Today is the conclusion of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, and our highlights about the final four competing nations with information pulled right from the pages of the latest edition of Oxford’s Atlas of the World. The final two teams, Germany and Argentina, go head-to-head on Sunday, 13 July to determine the champion.

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Countries of the World Cup: Netherlands

As we gear up for the third place finalist match of the 2014 FIFA World Cup today — the Netherlands face the host country Brazil — we’re highlighting some interesting facts about one of the competing nations with information pulled right from the pages of the latest edition of Oxford’s Atlas of the World.

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The month that changed the world: Monday, 6 July to Sunday, 12 July 1914

By Gordon Martel
Having assured the Austrians of his support on Sunday, the kaiser on Monday departed on his yacht, the Hohenzollern, for his annual summer cruise of the Baltic. When his chancellor, Theobald von Bethmann Hollweg, met with Count Hoyos and the Austrian ambassador in Berlin that afternoon, he confirmed that Germany would stand by them ‘shoulder-to-shoulder’.

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The danger of ideology

By Richard S. Grossman
What do the Irish famine and the euro crisis have in common? The famine, which afflicted Ireland during 1845-1852, was a humanitarian tragedy of massive proportions. It left roughly one million people—or about 12 percent of Ireland’s population—dead and led an even larger number to emigrate. The euro crisis, which erupted during the autumn of 2009, has resulted in a virtual standstill in economic growth throughout the Eurozone in the years since then.

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The month that changed the world: Monday, 29 June to Sunday, 5 July 1914

By Gordon Martel
Although it was Sunday, news of the assassination rocketed around the capitals of Europe. By evening Princip and Čabrinović had been arrested, charged, taken to the military prison and put in chains. All of Čabrinović’s family had been rounded up and arrested, along with those they employed in the family café; Ilić was arrested that afternoon.

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The Man in the Monkeynut Coat and the men in the yellow jerseys

By Kersten Hall
It is a safe bet that the name of Pierre Rolland rings very few bells among the British public. In 2012, Rolland, riding for Team Europcar finished in eighth place in the overall final classifications of the Tour de France whilst Sir Bradley Wiggins has since become a household name following his fantastic achievement of being the first British person ever to win the most famous cycle race in the world.

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The month that changed the world: Sunday, 28 June 1914

At 10 a.m. that morning the royal party arrived at the railway station. A motorcade consisting of six automobiles was to proceed from there along the Appel Quay to the city hall.The first automobile was to be manned by four special security detectives assigned to guard the archduke, but only one of them managed to take his place; local policemen substituted for the others.

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The month that changed the world: Saturday, 27 June 1914

By Gordon Martel
The next day was to be a brilliant one, a splendid occasion that would glorify the achievements of Austrian rule in Bosnia-Herzegovina. The Habsburg heir to the thrones of Austria and Hungary, the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, had been eagerly anticipating it for months.

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The month that changed the world: a timeline to war

In honor of the centennial of World War I, we’re remembering the momentous period of history that forever changed the world as we know it. July 1914 was the month that changed the world. On 28 June 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated, and just five weeks later the Great Powers of Europe were at war. But how did it all happen?

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Felipe VI, Spain’s new king: viva el rey

By William Chislett
Spain has a new king, following the abdication of King Juan Carlos earlier this month in favour of his son, Felipe VI. The move comes at a time when Spain is emerging from a long period of recession with an unemployment rate of 26%, a tarnished monarchy, a widely discredited political class, and a pro-independence movement in the region of Catalonia.

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English convent lives in exile, 1540-1800

By Victoria Van Hyning
In the two and a half centuries following the dissolution of the monasteries in England in the 1530s, women who wanted to become nuns first needed to become exiles. The practice of Catholicism in England was illegal, as was undertaking exile for the sake of religious freedom.

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