An illuminating juxtaposition of articles by Simon Schama, the historian, with his Weekend Essay on Napoleon (Life & Arts) and actor Tom Hanks (Lunch with the FT, November 25), a reader of history.

The actor casts light, inadvertently, on Napoleon: “All the great plays are about loneliness . . . it’s about the battle we all have, to be part of something big”. And “quite frankly, fools have power for a while and even smart people do dumb things” — insights we might usefully apply to today’s world leaders, and not only to Donald Trump.

Christopher Bellew
London W6, UK

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