William Pitt the Younger riding on the back of George III while surveying the French squadron, 1803. © Musee de la Ville de Paris, Musee Carnavalet, Paris / Bridgeman Images.


Volume IX, Number 1 | winter 2016


Seventh-century Persian king Khosrow II is said to have tested the loyalty of courtiers whom he believed were becoming too close. Telling one of his decision to execute the other, he would swear the man to secrecy and then watch the friend’s behavior. If it went unchanged, he knew the first man was loyal and had kept silent; if different, he was a traitor and dealt with accordingly. 

It was funny how I could feel all alone and under surveillance at the same time.

—Cory Doctorow, 2013