Andrew Dilley (Aberdeen): Empire and Risk: Edwardian Financiers, Australia, and Canada c. 1899-1914. A review of London Calling: A Countercultural History of London Since 1945 by Barry Miles (and more). Philip Hensher on why we're in the grip of medieval mania. A review of The Empire Project: The Rise and Fall of the British World-System 1830-1970 by John Darwin. A review of Empires of the Imagination: Politics, War and the Arts in the British World, 1750-1850 by Holger Hoock. An excerpt from Before Wilde: Sex Between Men in Britain’s Age of Reform by Charles Upchurch. Intimate History: A grand history and an elegiac new film explore Britain’s recent, and irrecoverable, past. An excerpt from The Arsenic Century: How Victorian Britain was Poisoned at Home, Work, and Play by James Whorton (and more and more). A review of Strange Days Indeed: The 1970s: The Golden Days of Paranoia by Francis Wheen. A review of Replenishing the Earth: The Settler Revolution and the Rise of the Anglo-world, 1783-1939 by James Belich. A review of The Mythology of Imperialism: a Revolutionary Critique of British Literature and Society in the Modern Age by Jonah Raskin. 1282 and all that: Welsh historians must look beyond England to challenge their tired and introspective consensus. A review of Incest and Influence: The Private Life of Bourgeois England by Adam Kuper. A review of The Enlightened Economy: An Economic History of Britain 1700-1850 by Joel Mokyr. A review of When the Lights Went Out: What Really Happened to Britain in the Seventies by Andy Beckett. For 70 years, this picture has been used to tell the same story — of inequality, class division, “toffs and toughs” — but what was the real story behind it? The first chapter from British History for Dummies by Sean Lang.

Ben Schiller (East Anglia): Selling Themselves: Slavery, Survival, and the Path of Least Resistance. From Psychology Today, a look at why nostalgia for the past is good medicine; and your 20s are always the "good old days": Our preference for certain products and cultural images that are no longer popular is explained. The Sheriff: Michelle Cottle on the semiotics of Janet Napolitano. Bartenders revive classic cocktails — the law responds by reviving classic crackdowns. Much ado about cutting: Why the big flap over circumcision? More than ever, the anti-hero, in specific Tony Soprano-esque ways, is very much alive. Gangstas R Us: Jeremy Sherman on why we love crime drama. A review of NYPD Confidential: Power and Corruption in the Country’s Greatest Police Force by Leonard Levitt. A review of Where Power Lies: Prime Ministers v the Media by Lance Price. Ingrid Hylander (Karolinska): Organizing for a Peaceful Crowd: An Example of a Football Match. A review of Andy Warhol and the Can That Sold the World by Gary Indiana. Archaeologies of Media Art: An interview with Garnet Hertz. In defense of the chick flick: After Kathryn Bigelow won an Oscar for best director, Hollywood says it's the Year of the Woman — so why the attack on female-friendly films? Just too soft to be Sartre: It's not easy being an existentialist in today's moral greyscale. Lincoln Michel reviews How to Sell by Clancy Martin. From Fletcher Forum, an interview with Jack Goldsmith on the future of enemy combatants, Guantanamo Bay, and nuclear terrorism. From Flashpoint, a special issue on artist and poet David Jones. An interview with Albert Laszlo Barabasi, author of Bursts: The Hidden Pattern Behind Everything We Do. There are 50 ways to leave your lover, according to Paul Simon — but how many ways are there to leave a friend?

An interview with Norm Stamper, a former police chief who thinks drugs should be legal, about new efforts to ban a pot substitute. Judge Jim Gray on the six groups that benefit from drug prohibition. The New Jim Crow: Michelle Alexander on how the War on Drugs gave birth to a permanent American undercaste. A review of A World of Gangs: Armed Young Men and Gangsta Culture by John Hagedorn. A new analysis finds racial resentment is a major reason behind Americans’ support for harsh sentences for criminals. A review of From Lynch Mobs to the Killing State: Race and the Death Penalty in America by Charles Ogletree and Austin Sarat. How the 15-year decline in violent crime is not nearly as great a success story as you might think; it's time for a broader crime bill. A new tool for fighting crime: Get serious about probation. Drastically reducing both crime rates and the number of people behind bars is technically feasible — whether it is politically and organizationally feasible to achieve this remains an open question. Prison is a young man’s world, a world of physical violence and posturing, not a place to grow old, although more and more of us are doing just that. A review of Texas Tough: The Rise of America's Prison Empire by Robert Perkinson (and more and more). Alan Elsner goes inside US prisons, a wealth of wasted potential. Lawrence Levi reviews Mother California: A Story of Redemption Behind Bars by Kenneth Hartman. What happens when you put juvenile prisoners in an adult isolation lockup? (and more) David Kaiser and Lovisa Stannow on the way to stop prison rape. The Rainmakers: Banking on private prisons in the fleecing of small-town America. This year, the census will count over a million inmates in the wrong place — and their home communities will suffer for it.

From Relevant, a look at how the faith of Arthur Guinness inspired the vision for his famous beer; and the Party-Pooping Church: Why do Christians seem to hate fun? New research finds exposure to a bare, illuminated light bulb — a universal symbol of bright ideas — is a catalyst to reaching insights. The unconscious politics that shape our world: An interview with Shankar Vedantam, author of The Hidden Brain. A review of Sugar: A Bittersweet History by Elizabeth Abbott. Coping with uncertainty: An article on "Robust Decision Making". Why we hoard: The show on A&E and a new book explain the most American of habits — not throwing stuff out. From The Free Market, George F. Smith on the case for hoarding. Googling Marshall McLuhan seems just so appropriate: Who better than multi-media artist star Douglas Coupland to consider the prescient one’s reality today? A look at how beer label art matches the quirky character of the microbrews. Trust Busting: Virginia Heffernan on the Web sites of beleaguered companies. The making of the president, then and now: The great campaign books of the past are about more than the back-room drama that dominates recent releases. Kate Zambreno reviews Wetlands by Charlotte Roche. Need a zero-gravity toilet, a spare key for your Soyuz? Declassified, decommissioned, the Soviet Union's space heritage is on the market. From Sociolinguistic  Studies, a review of The Language and Sexuality Reader. From New York, how Patricia Cohen plans to seek revenge against her hedge-fund superpower ex-husband Steve Cohen. A review of You Couldn't Ignore Me If You Tried: The Brat Pack, John Hughes, and Their Impact on a Generation by Susannah Gora.

From Maisonneuve, the record store is dying, but that could merely be a symptom of a much larger problem: that perhaps the city itself is dying; and Pink Floyd’s music can no longer be sold as single downloads or as mobile ringtones — a win for artistic integrity, right? Andy Battaglia reviews Cracked Media: The Sound of Malfunction by Caleb Kelly. There's no such thing as religious music. Thirty years ago, a rock writer coined the term "Oi!" to decribe his favourite music; soon "punk's idiot half-brother" was synonymous with arson, racism and football violence. Musical orientalism: Orientalism in western art and literature has been much commented upon, but a Paris concert series has broken new ground in exploring representations of the orient in music. Is there such a thing as a perfect song? Yes, it exists, but you gotta have faith, maybe even in Coldplay — maybe. A look at how Pandora avoided the junkyard, and found success. From PopMatters, an article on MP3s, the death of the record store, and the birth of the closet hipster; and maybe it’s the crappy economy, or just an extension of the long-term trend in popular music toward smaller and smaller ensembles, but it sure seems like there are a lot of one-man bands out there lately. Ko Htwe explores Burma's underground music scene and finds rappers and hip-hop artists with a political message. The trouble with easy listening: iTunes and iPods — what's not to like? How about the devaluation of the music experience. If music is free, how do artists get paid? Steve Almond on why music criticism is a pointless exercise. From The Futurist, an article on reinventing the music business. Deemed music that is “not real”, electronic sounds have come to occupy and permeate spaces focused on alterity, from the fringes of academia to the disposal heap of exotica.