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‘Big’ histories still being written

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Academic history in the modern era has often been accused of being increasingly fragmented, with the proliferation of sub-disciplines and of ever more specific research within these. Yet ‘big’ histories of the sort pioneered by Fernand Braudel or William McNeill are still being written, with one of the most interesting recent examples being James Belich’s Replenishing the Earth. The Settler Revolution and the Rise of the Anglo-World, 1783-1939.

This lengthy book seeks to explain the dynamism and instability of the extended 19th century, and in this week’s featured piece in Reviews in History Eric Richards finds that ‘it is exhilarating and provocative reading and grapples with central historical questions at a structural level which leaves this reader cheering its sheer bravado’. His full review can be found here.