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Reviews in History


New reviews: Poland / Lithuania, 1837, British tears and WW1 culture

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SzlachtaVoivodshipsWe begin this week with The Oxford History of Poland-Lithuania. Volume 1: The Making of the Polish-Lithuanian Union, 1385-1569 by Robert Frost. Paul Knoll and the author debate an outstanding contribution to the history of east central Europe (no. 1915, with response here).

Then we turn to Jessica Lepler’s The Many Panics of 1837: People, Politics, and the Creation of a Transatlantic Financial Crisis, and Joanna Cohen praises a book which utilises a new approach to the history of capitalism, interrogating economic concepts as cultural and linguistic constructions (no. 1914).

Next up is Weeping Britannia: Portrait of a Nation in Tears by Thomas Dixon. Hannah Rose Woods and the author discuss a book which sets out to dispel the ‘persistent myth’ of Britain as a nation of emotionally repressed stoics (no. 1913, with response here).

Finally Pip Gregory reviews Humor, Entertainment, and Popular Culture during World War I, edited by Clémentine Tholas-Disset and Karen A. Ritzenhoff, which she finds a thoroughly enjoyable book offering insight and interest for cultural historians of the Great War the world over (no. 1912).

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New reviews: Churchill, popular music, Chinese intellectuals and George Washington

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indian armyWe begin with Churchill on the Far East in the Second World War: Hiding the History of the ‘Special Relationship’ by Cat Wilson, which Chandar Sundaram believes to be an excellent treatment of Churchill’s historical sleight of hand (no. 1911, with response here).

Then we turn to Irene Morra’s Britishness, Popular Music and National Identity: the Making of Modern Britain. Paul Martin believes anyone with an interest in popular music and culture or the mores of identity should find this a rewarding and convincing read (no. 1910).

Next up is Shakhar Rahav’s The Rise of Political Intellectuals in Modern China: May Fourth Societies and the Roots of Mass-Party Politics, as Chris Courtney and the author debate a thought provoking and original analysis, a valuable addition to both Chinese and intellectual history (no. 1909, with response here).

Finally we have Addressing America: George Washington’s Farewell and the Making of National Culture, Politics, and Diplomacy, 1796-1852 by Jeffrey J. Malanson. Steve Tuffnell and the author discuss a volume which will be vital reading for those interested in American conceptions of their republic’s role in international affairs (no. 1908, with response here).

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New reviews: Russian radio, Australian settlers, German revolution and medieval robots

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russianradioWe begin this week with Russia in the Microphone Age: A History of Soviet Radio, 1919-1970 by Stephen Lovell, as Allan Jones and the author debate an engrossing history of Soviet broadcasting (no. 1907, with response here).

Next up is Angela Woollacott’s Settler Society in the Australian Colonies: Self-Government and Imperial Culture. Bernard Attard and the author discuss a stimulating and thought-provoking study of the nature and dynamics of settler colonialism (no. 1906, with response here).

Then we turn to Germany 1916-23: A Revolution in Context, edited by Klaus Weinhauer, Anthony McElligott and Kirsten Heinsohn. Alex Burkhardt believes the editors have fulfilled their brief to provide an impetus for new ‘cultural-historical’ directions in research on the German Revolution (no. 1905).

Finally we have E. R. Truitt’s Medieval Robots: Mechanism, Magic, Nature, and Art, which Stefano Gulizia praises as an evocative book, the first survey of its kind in the English-speaking academic world (no. 1904).

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New reviews: Artist and Empire, Anglicans, Cyprus and the League of Nations

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artist_and_empire_tragopan_17698_largeWe start this week with Miles Taylor’s long-anticipated review of Artist and Empire: Facing Britain’s Imperial Past, as he praises a thought-provoking exhibition (running until 10 April), one of the best historically-themed shows that Tate Britain has done for some years (no. 1903).

Next up is Anglican Enlightenment: Orientalism, Religion and Politics in England and its Empire, 1648–1715 by William Bulman. David Magliocco and the author discuss one of the most important interventions in late 17th–century studies in the last decade (no. 1902, with response here).

Next up is David French’s Fighting EOKA: The British Counter-Insurgency Campaign on Cyprus, 1955-1959. Andrekos Varnava reviews an engaging, thorough and, thankfully, not overly long read (no. 1901).

Finally, we have The Guardians: The League of Nations and the Crisis of Empire by Susan Pedersen, and Peter Yearwood recommends a book written with clarity and precision, and featuring compelling themes and illuminating detail (no. 1900).

 

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New reviews: 3000 years of finance, medieval Welsh soldiers, literary salons and Salmonella

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South_Sea_BubbleWe begin with A Concise History of International Finance: From Babylon to Bernanke by Larry Neal, as Andrew Mcdiarmid reviews an engaging narrative that charts the evolution of finance from the personal to the impersonal (no. 1899).

Then we turn to Adam Chapman’s Welsh Soldiers in the Later Middle Ages. Christopher Allmand and the author discuss a book which transcends the geographical limits implied in its title (no. 1898, with response here).

Next up is Amy Prendergast’s Literary Salons Across Britain and Ireland in the Long Eighteenth Century, with Rachel Wilson enjoying a thought-provoking read, whose comparative approach gives it an edge and a freshness (no. 1897).

Finally Mick Worboys recommends a book which offers fascinating and novel insights into domestic life as he reviews Salmonella Infections, Networks of Knowledge and Public Health in Britain, 1880-1975 by Anne Hardy (no. 1896).

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New reviews: Labour Party, Europeana, Early Modern accounting and slavery

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corbynWe kick off this week with the History of the Labour Party by Andrew Thorpe, as Christopher Massey and the author discuss the most up-to-date study on the 115-year lifetime of the Labour Party (no. 1895, with response here).

Then we have a review of the digital resource Europeana Newspapers. Bob Nicholson and editor Clemens Neudecker discuss this flawed but fantastic tool (no. 1894, with response here).

Next up is Accounting for Oneself: Worth, Status, and the Social Order in Early Modern England by Alexandra Shepard. Mark Hailwood is impressed by a book which grasps the nettle of thinking about the kind of processes of macro-historical change that historians have largely shied away from in the past two decades (no. 1893).

Following this there is Long Emancipation: The Demise of Slavery in the United States by Ira Berlin. William Skidmore believes this book provides a provocative and powerful framework that scholars will use to rewrite the history of American slavery’s demise (no. 1892).

Finally we have George Molyneux’s response to Nicole Marafioti’s review from last week of Formation of the English kingdom in the 10th century (no. 1890).

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New reviews: Civil War, Ottoman Empire, Early Modern Catholics and C20 Archbishop

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May 1862:  Confederate and Union forces clashing during the battle of Williamsburg, Virginia.  (Photo by MPI/Getty Images)

May 1862: Confederate and Union forces clashing during the battle of Williamsburg, Virginia. (Photo by MPI/Getty Images)

We start this week with The War That Forged A Nation: Why The Civil War Still Matters by James M. McPherson, and Susan-Mary Grant and the author discuss the latest work by the Civil War’s most preeminent historian (no. 1887, with response here).

Next up Kate Fleet tackles a curate’s egg of a book, as she reviews Sean McMeekin’s The Ottoman Endgame: War, Revolution and the Making of the Modern Middle East, 1908-1923 (no. 1886).

Then we turn to The Gages of Hengrave and Suffolk Catholicism, 1640-1767 by Francis Young, as Eilish Gregory recommends a well-researched and detailed book on an early modern English Catholic family (no. 1885).

Finally we have Peter Webster’s Archbishop Ramsey: The Shape of the Church, which Sam Brewitt-Taylor praises as a fine addition to the literature on this key Archbishop (no. 1884).

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New reviews: asylums, British soldiers, Puritans and nuns

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franco_basag-0ada2212b731c0e87805d69c2d9f6756

Franco Basaglia

We start this week with John Foot’s The Man Who Closed the Asylums: Franco Basaglia and the Revolution in Mental Health Care. Peter Barham and the author discuss a hugely ambitious book about the movement in Italy to transform the institutional landscape of Italian mental health care (no. 1883, with response here).

Next up is Browned Off and Bloody-Minded: The British Soldier Goes to War 1939-1945 by Alan Allport, as Andrew Muldoon praises a book which should attract, and deserves to gain, both a specialist and a general readership (no. 1882).

Then Thomas Hamm covers two contributions from the early American history ‘Atlantic turn’ generation, as he reviews Sympathetic Puritans: Calvinist Fellow Feeling in Early New England by Abram Van Engen and London Quakers in the Trans-Atlantic World: The Creation of an Early Modern Community by Jordan Landes (no. 1881).

Finally we turn to Hubert Wolf’s The Nuns of Sant’ Ambrolio: the True Story of a Convent in Scandal, which Sara Charles recommends as an intriguing retelling that avoids sensationalist tabloid clichés (no. 1880).

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New reviews: Somerset, US politics, Francis I and concentration camps

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Badon_CadburyCastle02_fullWe start this week with the latest volume from the Victoria County History, The History of the County of Somerset. Volume XI: Queen Camel and the Cadburys, edited by Mary Siraut. Michael Hicks and the editors discuss a comprehensive, indispensable, and almost definitive volume (no. 1879, with response here).

Next up is James Morone’s The Devils We Know: Us and Them in America’s Raucous Political Culture: Essays, and Karen Heath recommends a collection which will be indispensible for any scholar concerned with American contemporary social and political issues (no. 1878).

Then we turn to Francis I and Sixteenth-Century France by Robert J. Knecht. David Potter believes the world of Francis I has been the ideal domain for this lover of art and culture, collector of foibles, and superb teller of stories (à la Brantôme) to deploy his skills (no. 1877).

Finally we have Dan Stone’s The Liberation of the Camps: the End of the Holocaust and its Aftermath. Rainer Schulze reviews an engrossing book that is incredibly rich in survivor testimony (no. 1876).

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New reviews: Irish Revolution, Jewish artists, cotton and Pepys

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beckertHappy New Year! We start 2016 with Remembering the Irish Revolution: Dissent, Culture, and Nationalism in the Irish Free State by Frances Flanagan. Sean Ledwith and the author discuss a thoughtful and scholarly contribution to an understanding of a generation that tried to change the world (no. 1875, with response here).

Next up is Samantha Baskind’s Jewish Artists and the Bible in Twentieth-Century America, as Peter Webster praises a tightly focussed and coherent volume, which is also lavishly produced and a pleasure to hold (no. 1874).

Then we turn to Empire of Cotton: A Global History by Sven Beckert. Steve Cushion reviews a book which makes you think again about the shirt on your back, and wonder how much blood there is on it (no. 1873).

Finally we have Kate Loveman’s Samuel Pepys and his Books: Reading, Newsgathering, and Sociability, 1660-1703. Lena Liapi believes that this book will be of great interest to anyone working on the history of reading (no. 1872).

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