Past and Present

To Learn from History

History, the collective experience of Mankind, teaches us about the present and the future. How do we look at events of the past? Do they help to solve our present political or economical conditions and conflicts?

The essays in this anthology derive from the Engelsberg Seminar in 2019 that dealt with these questions. From perspectives as varied as the History of Ideas, Evolutionary Psychology, and Ideologies – amongst others – the writers apply history to today’s concerns such as International Relations, Geopolitics, Economics, and the role of the individual and human nature in history. Perhaps it is only through applied history that we can find our way forward.

Past and Present. To Learn from History
ISBN: 978-91-89069-34-3
90 illustrations. 24 x 17 cm (portrait). 380 pp
Autumn 2020

Essay Authors

Erica Benner is a writer and scholar who works on moral and political thought. Her latest book, Be Like the Fox, is a biography of Machiavelli.

John Bew is the biographer of Clement Attlee and Professor in History and Foreign Policy at the War Studies Department at King’s College London. Since 2019 he has served as Foreign Policy Advisor to UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Philip Bobbitt is the Herbert Wechsler Professor of Federal Jurisprudence and Director of the Center for National Security at Columbia University, and Distinguished Senior Lecturer at the University of Texas.

Vernon Bogdanor is Professor of Government, King’s College, London. He is also Emeritus Professor of Politics and Government at the University of Oxford and Emeritus Fellow of Brasenose College, Oxford. His book Britain and Europe in Troubled Times will be published in 2020.

Michael Burleigh is Engelsberg Professor of History and International Affairs, LSE Ideas. He is the author of Moral Combat: A History of World War II and eleven other titles.

Cory J Clark is Assistant Professor of Social Psychology, Durham University and Director of Academic Engagement at Heterodox Academy. Her research interests are in moral judgment, punishment, free will, belief, political bias and motivated cognition.

Professor Christopher Coker is Director of LSE IDEAS, LSE’s foreign policy think tank. His publications include Rebooting Clausewitz and Men at War: What Fiction has to Tell us About Conflict, from the Iliad to Catch 22

Jonathan Fenby is an author, journalist and expert on China. He is the author of Will China Dominate the 21st Century? and a biographer of Charles de Gaulle.

Niall Ferguson is the Milbank Family Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and a senior faculty fellow of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard, where he served for twelve years as the Laurence A. Tisch Professor of History. He is the author of 15 books and columnist for The Sunday Times in London.

Josef Joffe serves on the editorial council of Die Zeit. He is a Distinguished Fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution. A co-founder of the The American Interest, he is on the editorial board of International Security (Harvard/ MIT). His most recent book on Germany is Der gute Deutsche: Die Karriere einer moralischen Supermacht.

Dr Rob Johnson is the Director of the Changing Character of War research programme at the University of Oxford. The CCW Programme brings together academics, policy-makers and armed forces professionals in the study of armed conflict and its consequences. He is author The Afghan Way of War.

Elisabeth Kendall is Senior Research Fellow in Arabic at Pembroke College, Oxford. She is the co-author of Twenty-First Century Jihad: Law, Society and Military Action.

Iain Martin is a British political commentator and author. He writes a weekly column for The Times of London and is editor and publisher of Reaction – – a site dedicated to analysis of politics, economics and culture.

Professor Janne Haaland Matláry, dm, is a Norwegian political scientist, writer, and politician. She is Professor of International Politics at the University of Oslo and the Norwegian Defence University College, Akershus Fortress.

Rana Mitter is Professor of the History and Politics of Modern China at the University of Oxford. He is the author of the award-winning A Bitter Revolution: China’s Struggle with the Modern World.

Andrew Monaghan is a Senior Associate Fellow at the Royal United Services Institute and a Non-Resident Associate Fellow of the NATO Defence College in Rome. He is the author of the books Dealing with the Russians and Power in Modern Russia.

Fraser Nelson is a leading British journalist and commentator. He is the editor of The Spectator, a weekly columnist for The Daily Telegraph in London, and a regular broadcaster.

Gudrun Persson is Associate Professor at the Department of Slavic Studies, Stockholm University. She specializes in Russian history and politics, and is the author of Learning from Foreign Wars and Det sovjetiska arvet (The Soviet Legacy).

Peter Ricketts is a retired British diplomat. He served as Permanent Secretary of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, National Security Adviser and British Ambassador to Paris.

Kori Schake is Director of Foreign and Defense Policy Studies at the American Enterprise Institute. She is author of Safe Passage and acontributing writer at The Atlantic.

Nathan Shachar is the Jerusalem correspondent of the Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter. He is the author of The Lost Worlds of Rhodes: Greeks, Italians, Jews and Turks between Tradition and Modernity.

Brendan Simms is Director of the Forum on Geopolitics at Cambridge. He is author, together with Patrick Milton and the late Michael Axworthy, of Towards a Westphalia for the Middle East.

Karin Svanborg-Sjövall is a policy expert, journalist and author. She is the director of Timbro, Scandinavia’s biggest free-market think tank.

Emma Sky is director of Yale University’s Maurice R. Greenberg World Fellows Program and a Senior Fellow at the Jackson Institute, where she teaches Middle East politics. She is the author of The Unravelling: High Hopes and Missed Opportunities in Iraqand In a Time of Monsters: Travels through a Middle East in Revolt.

Maurizio Viroli is an academic, essayist, author and philosopher. He is Professor of Government, UT Austin, and Professor of Politics (Emeritus), Princeton University.

Calder Walton is Assistant Director of the Applied History Project at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. He is general editor, with Christopher Andrew, of the multi-volume Cambridge History of Espionage and Intelligence to be published by Cambridge University Press.

Dr Yu Jie is Senior Research Fellow on China in the Asia-Pacific Programme of Royal Institute of International Affairs, Chatham House and an associate fellow of LSE IDEAS.