Hereditary empires and the struggle with modernity

Hereditary dynasties could not survive the industrial revolution. Well, except for one

Hereditary empires and the struggle with modernityLast week’s column drew from British historian Dominic Lieven’s current book about emperors and empires. Called In the Shadow of the Gods, it’s an exploration of the characteristics that contributed to dynastic success or failure. Lieven’s penultimate chapter deals with the challenges modernity posed to hereditary dynasties. As the environment changed rapidly, the crowns adorning…

The incredible, emotional and inspirational journey of Thunder Rosa

Rosa is a tour de force in pro wrestling. She’s tough, quick, agile, intelligent and fiercely competitive

The incredible, emotional and inspirational journey of Thunder RosaMany pro wrestlers have unique backstories. The incredible, emotional and inspirational journey of Melissa “Thunder Rosa” Cervantes is possibly the most unique of them all. She was born in Tijuana, Mexico, in 1986. It’s a country where lucha libre has helped turn average folk into wrestling royalty. High-flying masked superstars like Mil Máscaras, El Santo,…

Are we seeing the destruction of democratic capitalism?

More than 100 years after H.G. Wells forecast big changes in the world order, the tide is turning

Are we seeing the destruction of democratic capitalism?Democratic capitalism is a remarkably empowering and wealth-generating structure. Although wealth is not a zero-sum game, power may well be. In his 2011 book The Fruits of Graft: Great Depressions Then and Now, Wayne Jett explores how certain elitists have actively sought to undermine the masses and usurp political and economic power for themselves. In H.G.…

How empires grab and hold on to power

Being recognized as divinely anointed didn’t guarantee acquiescence, but it was still a huge asset

How empires grab and hold on to powerDominic Lieven is a British historian who has written extensively on European, particularly Russian, history. His latest book, In the Shadow of the Gods, is about emperors and empires. It examines their historical scope and the characteristics that contributed to dynastic success or failure. At over 400 densely written pages (excluding notes), the book is…

Mural blooms for seniors’ residence in Edmonton

Newly unveiled artwork celebrates intergenerational bonds between residents and their community

Mural blooms for seniors’ residence in EdmontonGrowing up in the rural midwest, Jill Thomson had a soft spot for bountiful farm gardens. It was an affection that blossomed as she moved to city life and began planting – and painting – her own urban patches of heaven. Now, the longtime artist and University of Alberta Master of arts student is sharing…

Catholic Ireland’s conflicted interest in the monarchy

Dublin cinemas planned to screen the Queen's coronation but opted not to after receiving threats

Catholic Ireland’s conflicted interest in the monarchyNews stories about Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee put me in mind of a book by Irish author Mary Kenny. Called Crown and Shamrock, it’s described by historian Roy Foster as a “characteristically breezy, racy and insightful” look at a complicated relationship. Kenny is five months older than I am and what she writes of Ireland…

How to maximize the meaning in our lives

There’s nothing more significant than living with meaning

How to maximize the meaning in our livesThere’s nothing more significant than living with meaning. This is the concept pondered by the Jewish psychiatrist Viktor Frankl as he struggled to remain alive for three years in Nazi concentration camps. Frankl established the groundwork for his psychological theory on the importance of finding meaning in life before he was sent to Auschwitz. He…

War and brutality go hand in hand

Combat naturally leads to behaviours that would be deemed shocking in normal life

War and brutality go hand in handAntony Beevor is a prolific English military historian, most famous for the bestseller Stalingrad. First published in the late 1990s, the book’s narrative covers the period between the June 1941 German invasion of the Soviet Union and the conclusion of the Battle of Stalingrad in February 1943. That battle is often described as the Second…

A love letter from Canadian LGBQT artist to the Queen 

She led me to the intersection of the many roads I could walk, in a bigger world with room for us all

A love letter from Canadian LGBQT artist to the Queen I began my life in Nova Scotia, the most British of Canadian provinces. As a young boy in the 1960s who preferred pink over blue, there was an enormous sense of not belonging, of living in a world that had not yet carved out a place for a child like me. In the accepted definition…

The last children of Anglo-Saxon England

For the upper class of England, the Norman conquest was wipe out time

The last children of Anglo-Saxon EnglandHarold Godwineson, the last Anglo-Saxon king of England, died on the battlefield at Hastings in October 1066. It wasn’t a pretty ending. Whether he was killed by an arrow through the eye (the traditional story), trampled underfoot, or hunted down and (literally) cut to pieces by invading Norman knights remains a matter of speculation. For…
1 2 3 30