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Reviews in History

New reviews: medieval societies, early modern menstruation, Zimbabwean migrants and Southern plantations


1525795_ArticoloWe start this week with Making Early Medieval Societies: Conflict and Belonging in the Latin West, 300-1200, edited by Kate Cooper and Conrad Leyser. Edward Roberts and the editors debate a lustrous collection which promises to be of immense value to specialists and students of early medieval social and cultural history (no. 1971, with response here).

Next up is Cathy McClive’s Menstruation and Procreation in Early Modern France, as Sarah Fox praises a book which offers a novel insight into the way in which gender and procreation were understood historically (no. 1970).

Then we turn to Zimbabwe’s Migrants and South Africa’s Border Farms : the Roots of Impermanence by Maxim Bolt. Richard Daglish and the author discuss a very welcome addition to the field of migrant culture and African social hierarchies (no. 1969, with response here).

Finally we have Natalie Zacek’s review of a varied collection of essays edited by Julia Brock and Daniel Vivian, Leisure, Plantations, the Making of a New South: The Sporting Plantations of the South Carolina Lowcountry (no. 1968).

Oh, and before I forget, please check out a belated but welcome response by Fred Anscombe to Alex Drace-Francis’ review of his State, Faith and Nation in Ottoman and Post-Ottoman Lands.


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New reviews: London crime, religious wars, US Reconstruction and the UK far-right


hogarth-gin-lane-smWe start this week with London Lives: Poverty, Crime and the Making of a Modern City, 1690–1800 by Tim Hitchcock and Robert B. Shoemaker. Heather Shore and the authors discuss a book which shows us how hard life was for poor or even less well-off Londoners in the 18th century (no. 1967, with response here).

Then we turn to Wolfgang Palaver, Harriet Rudolph and Dietmar Regensburger’s edited collection The European Wars of Religion: An Interdisciplinary Reassessment of Sources, Interpretations, and Myths. Dave Papendorf thinks the editors should be praised for contributing an original volume so in touch with modern debates in early modern history (no. 1966).

Next up is Gold and Freedom: The Political Economy of Reconstruction by Nicolas Barreyre, as Charlie Thompson recommends a book which cleverly uses a growing and interesting area of historical research to richly contextualise and shed new light on the high politics of Reconstruction (no. 1965).

Finally we have Nick Toczek’s Haters, Baiters and Would-Be Dictators: Anti-Semitism and the UK Far Right. Paul Blanchard believes this book provides a useful and timely study of some overlooked elements of the British far right (no. 1964).

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New reviews: James I, French mercenaries, Welsh missionaries and Greek crises


James_I_EnglandWe start today with Alastair Bellany and Thomas Cogswell’s The Murder of King James I. David Coast and the authors discuss a book which adds much to our understanding of early Stuart politics (no. 1963, with response here).

Next up is a review article by Helen Roche of Mussolini’s Greek Island: Fascism and the Italian Occupation of Syros in World War II by Sheila Lecoeur and History, Time, and Economic Crisis in Central Greece by Daniel M. Knight, two books which leave our understanding of current Greek attitudes to the past inestimably the richer (no. 1962).

Then we turn to Routiers et mercenaires pendant la guerre de Cent ans, edited by Guilhem Pépin, Françoise Lainé and Frédéric Boutoulle. Christopher Allmand recommends a valuable contribution to our understanding of the weaknesses of the French crown in this period (no. 1961).

Finally we have Andrew May’s Welsh Missionaries and British Imperialism: The Empire of Clouds in North-east India, and Andrew Avery believes this work deepens our understanding of British colonial experience in 19th-century northeast India (no. 1960)­.

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New reviews: women appeasers, Islamic views of the West, childhood and travel in Russia


Nancy-Astor-001We start this week with Julie Gottlieb’s ‘Guilty Women’, Foreign Policy, and Appeasement in Inter-War Britain, as Daniel Hucker and the author broadly agree over the first gendered history of British foreign policy in the age of appeasement (no. 1959, with response here).

Next up is Arabic-Islamic Views of the Latin West: Tracing the Emergence of Medieval Europe by Daniel G. König. Harry Munt and the author debate a key resource for future scholars interested in medieval Muslims’ views of their non-Muslim neighbours (no. 1958, with response here).

Then we turn to Shirleene Robinson and Simon Sleight’s edited collection Children, Childhood and Youth in the British World. Rosie Kennedy and the editors discuss a collection which enhances our knowledge and understanding of the histories of childhood and youth (no. 1957, with response here).

Finally we have Exploring Russia in the Elizabethan commonwealth: The Muscovy Company and Giles Fletcher, the elder by Felicity Stout. Tatyana Zhukova recommends a book which will appeal to students and researchers of Elizabethan political culture (no. 1956).


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New reviews: C19 refugees, Elizabeth I, Kissinger and the Ottoman Empire


shaw2We start this week with a semi-Brexit-appropriate book, Caroline Shaw’s Britannia’s Embrace: Modern Humanitarianism and the Imperial Origins of Refugee Relief. Tehila Sasson and the author discuss a book which traces the 19th-century history of refuge in Britain (no. 1955, with response here).

Then we turn to Elizabeth I and her Circle by Susan Doran, as Valerie Schutte praises a book which is refreshing in its scope and methodology (no. 1954).

Next up is Greg Grandin’s Kissinger’s Shadow: The Long Reach of America’s Most Controversial Statesman. James Cameron recommends a highly ambitious, very stimulating and extremely readable work (no. 1953).

Finally we have State, Faith and Nation in Ottoman and Post-Ottoman Lands by Fred Anscombe, and Alex Drace-Francis believes this book will be of interest to anyone researching or teaching Ottoman or comparative imperial history (no. 1952).

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New reviews: rational action, Russian religious toleration, royal touch and US left


thomas_0First up this week is Rational Action: The Sciences of Policy in Britain and America, 1940–1960 by William Thomas. Tom Kelsey and the author discuss a book which deserves serious attention from historians of science (no. 1951, with response here).

Then we turn to The Crisis of Religious Toleration in Imperial Russia: Bibikov’s System for the Old Believers, 1841-1855 by Thomas Marsden. J. Eugene Clay believes this book to be a major contribution to understanding the history of Russian state policy toward religion (no. 1950).

Next up is Stephen Brogan’s The Royal Touch in Early Modern England. Benjamin Guyer praises a book which offers a compelling revision of popular religious belief and practice in early modern England (no. 1949).

Finally we have The Cultural Left and the Reagan Era: US Protest and Central American Revolution by Nick Witham. Evan McCormick reviews a deftly and concisely written book which confirms the enduring importance of US interventions in Central America (no. 1948).

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New reviews: First World War, Irish witches, British documentaries and early modern astrology


sneddonWe begin this week with Ring of Steel: Germany and Austria-Hungary, 1914-1918 by Alexander Watson. Jonathan Kwan and the author discuss an important book that reconfigures our understanding of the First World War and of European history (no. 1947, with response here).

Then we turn to Andrew Sneddon’s Witchcraft and Magic in Ireland, and Mary Ann Lyons believes this book provides an excellent, fresh insight into the nature of beliefs about these phenomena (no. 1946).

Next up is A New History of British Documentary by James Chapman. Patrick Russell recommends a book whose methodology and contents raise numerous questions (no. 1945).

Finally we have the latest in our occasional podcast series, as Jordan Landes talks to Darin Hayton about his new book The Crown and the Cosmos: Astrology and the Politics of Maximilian I (no. 1944).

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New reviews: Victorian politics, Scottish parliaments, Irish nationhood and American Baptists


victorianWe begin this week with Victorian Political Culture: ‘Habits of Heart and Mind’ by Angus Hawkins. Simon Morgan and the author discuss a judicious and elegant synthesis of recent research which will appeal to novices and aficionados alike (no. 1943, with response here).

Next we turn to The Records of the Parliaments of Scotland to 1707, and Julian Goodare gives three cheers for this latest product of the digital age, and an extra cheer for the remarkable monument of 19th-century scholarship it is based on (no. 1942).

Then we turn to And so began the Irish Nation: Nationality, Nationalism and National Consciousness in Pre-Modern Ireland. Joan Redmond believes this book shows Brendan Bradshaw’s continuing ability to provoke debate, and to pose questions regarding some of the central issues in early modern Irish history (no. 1941).

Finally we have Thomas S. Kidd and Barry Hankins’ Baptists in America: A History. Matthew Bingham recommends an ideal choice for students, the general reader, and scholars of American religion (no. 1940).

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New reviews: Roosevelt and China, witchcraft, Irish sport and medieval paradise


rooseveltFirst up this week is Gregory Moore’s Defining and Defending the Open Door Policy: Theodore Roosevelt and China, 1901-1909. Michael Cullinane and the author disagree over an analysis of Theodore Roosevelt’s influence within the longue durée of US-Sino relations (no. 1939, with response here).

Next up is Witchcraft, Witch-hunting and Politics in Early Modern England by Peter Elmer, as Imogen Peck recommends an essential read for all scholars of early modern witchcraft (no. 1938).

Then we turn to Paul Rouse’s Sport and Ireland: a History, which Brian Griffin finds to be a treat for both specialists and non-specialists alike (no. 1937, with response here).

Finally we have From Eden to Eternity: Creations of Paradise in the Later Middle Ages by Alastair Minnis. Brian Murdoch reviews a fascinating, original and impressive contribution to the field of paradise studies (no. 1936, with response here).

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New reviews: enemy intelligence, slave narratives, Georgian militia and Clementine Churchill


intelligenceWe start this week with The Image of the Enemy: Intelligence Analysis of Adversaries since 1945, edited by Paul Maddrell. Charlie Hall and the author debate an excellent collection of meticulously researched and lucidly presented studies (no. 1935, with response here).

Then we have review article by David Anderson on two books of slave narratives, Slave Culture: A Documentary Collection of the Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers’ Project (edited by Spencer Crew, Lonnie Bunch and Clement Price) and Chained to the Land: Voices from Cotton & Cane Plantations: From Interviews of Former Slaves (edited by Lynette Ater Tanner). The reviewer believes both these books will prove to be useful research tools and references for historians and students of slavery (no. 1934).

Next up is Matthew McCormack’s Embodying the Militia in Georgian England. Kevin Linch praises a work which champions an interdisciplinary approach to the study of the military in this period (no. 1933).

Finally Bradley Hart and Sonia Purcell discuss the latter’s First Lady: The Life and Wars of Clementine Churchill, a well-researched book of Churchill scholarship (no. 1932, with response here).

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