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A new year o￿ers a chance to step back and look at things from fresh perspectives. This issue we do just that, focusing our experts’ gaze on two key subjects: time and space. As we speed through the 21st century, it can feel as if modern life is accelerating in a blur of political schisms, technological innovations and social shifts. Of course, each generation experiences the shock of the new – but is this process speeding up? Have modern phenomena, such as the enhanced global interconnectivity and access to information offered by the internet, really pushed us past a kind of historical tipping point, beyond which our lives will be markedly different?

Perhaps. But, as our writers argue in this issue, if we are living through a period of rapid change, it may very well not be the most pronounced in history. From the ancient world to the years after the Second World War, seven historians consider which other historical eras experienced the most radical changes from page 20.

Another major topic this issue is space. It’s 1968, and Apollo 8 commander Frank Borman is talking to Newsweek magazine. “When you’re finally up at the moon looking back on Earth,” he reflects, “all those differences and nationalistic traits are pretty well going to blend... You’re going to get a concept that maybe this


really is one world – and why the hell can’t we learn to live together like decent people?” For Borman, who led the crew that was the first to view our home planet hanging in the void, the experience was revelatory. But what impact did viewing Earth from space have on wider society? And how were the pictures created in the first place? To find out, turn to page 66.

Elsewhere we shift scale, even if our subjects are smaller only compared with such cosmic ponderings. Two special articles view the British empire from new angles. Lizzie Collingham explores the ways in which Britain’s hunger for global foodstuffs shaped not only its own people but also those of lands around the world (page 42). And, from page 28, Zareer Masani makes a case for reassessing another aspect of the empire’s legacy – its overhaul of India’s system of education.

Other historical waypoints this issue include the

Mediterranean, Australia and St Petersburg. We’ll be back on 21 March – for now, enjoy the issue. Ma￿ Elton Editor, BBC World Histories

Together with two regular titles, the BBC History Magazine team also produces a bi-weekly podcast, live events and a range of special editions exploring specific topics and periods

Available around the world, BBC History Magazine is published 13 times a year in print and many digital editions. Turn to page 99 for our digital subscription offer.


Launched in 2016, BBC World Histories complements BBC History Magazine and is published every two months. Turn to page 81 for details on issue 9 and to order any back issues


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