The evacuation of allied troops from the beaches at Dunkirk was rightly celebrated as a great moment in British history. What very few people know, though, is that after Dunkirk tens of thousands of British troops were left in France, fighting for their lives. After the rest of the British army had gone home, the 51st Highland Division were ordered to fight on against the might of Adolf Hitler's war machine. Now, almost 80 years later, the only remaining survivors of that Division tell their extraordinary story for the first time - and probably the last. Using recently declassified secret documents, the full details of their fight for survival and why they were left to fight on in France can now be revealed. It's the story of a desperate battle in the face of overwhelming odds, a remarkable, courageous last stand and the doomed maverick rescue mission launched to save the men of the 51st.
Europe has seen Christianity as central to its Western identity. While true, many beliefs and ideas shaping Europe, including Christianity, originate in the Middle East. Long before the birth of Jesus, Judaism spreads across the Roman empire; Muslim Moors dominate the Iberian Peninsula.
In this ground-breaking film, historian Tom Holland explores how a new religion - Islam - emerged from the seedbed of the ancient world, and asks what we really know for certain about its rise. The result is an extraordinary detective story. Traditionally, Muslims and non-Muslims alike have believed that Islam was born in the full light of history. But a large number of historians now doubt that presumption, and question much of what Muslim tradition has to tell us about the birth of Islam.
2012 • History
Hendrik Poinar is a bit of a mystery man – as in, he likes to solve them. And he’s part time traveller – as in, he likes to dig up the past. Think Doctor Who meets Indiana Jones. Poinar is an evolutionary biologist - which means he studies the nature of how we humans got here and where we’re going. He happily admits his childhood dream was to travel the world and travel back in time. “No-one imagines that there’s actually something still hidden within a bone that’s been buried for a few thousand years or 100,000 years, let alone the possibility of resurrecting it or bringing it back to life,” says Poinar. “I mean, that’s sort of completely bizarre. It’s like a time machine, yeah, it’s a kid’s dream.” Secrets in the Bones follows Poinar on an epic journey to Italy, Germany, Britain, and across the Unites States. His mission: solve one of the greatest mysteries of science, a mystery that has eluded researchers for more than six centuries: unlock the secrets of the fourteenth century killer disease that caused the Black Death and wiped out more than 50 million people.