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Reviews in History


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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New reviews: Colonial Bengal, medieval chronicles, French Revolution, God and Thatcher

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bose2We begin this week with Recasting the Region: Language, Culture and Islam in Colonial Bengal by Neilesh Bose. Markus Daechsel and the author discuss an encyclopedic and important study (no. 1871, with response here).

Then we turn to Benjamin Pohl’s Dudo of St Quentin’s Historia Normannorum: History, Tradition and Memory. Elisabeth van Houts recommends an impressive debut from a medievalist of considerable talent (no. 1870).

Next up is The Oxford Handbook of the French Revolution, edited by Dave Andress, as Anne Byrne praises a convenient and scholarly starting-point for many different aspects of this turbulent epoch (no. 1869).

Finally Jess Prestidge reviews an original, thoroughly researched and highly readable addition to studies of Thatcher and Thatcherism, as she takes on God and Mrs Thatcher: The Battle for Britain’s Soul by Eliza Filby (no. 1868).

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New reviews: Scottish pubs, Missouri Crisis, medieval city politics and history of science

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Edinburgh_Ale_by_Hill_&_Adamson_c1844We start with the aforementioned History of Drinking: The Scottish Pub Since 1700 by Anthony Cooke, as Callum Brown and the author discuss a well-written account of the commerce, sociability and drinking communities of the country (no. 1867, with response here).

Next up is John Van Atta’s Wolf by the Ears: The Missouri Crisis, 1819-1821. Matthew Mason recommends an outstanding one-volume introduction to the Missouri Crisis and Compromises (no. 1866).

Then we turn to The Logic of Political Conflict in Medieval Cities: Italy and the Southern Low Countries, 1370-1440 by Patrick Lantschner, as Laura Crombie praises a book which offers a new political account of the later Middle Ages (no. 1865).

Finally Thomas Colville reviews an engaging but flawed longue durée history of science, Steven Weinberg’s To Explain the World: the Discovery of Modern Science (no. 1864).

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New reviews: holy wars, history of knowledge, Soviet spies and Gibbon

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burkeWe start this week with Holy War, Martyrdom and Terror: Christianity, Violence and the West by Phillipe Buc, as Cecilia Gaposchkin and the author debate an enormously ambitious book (no. 1863, with response here).

Then we have another in our occasional podcast series, with Daniel Snowman talking to Peter Burke about the latter’s career and forthcoming book, What is the History of Knowledge? (no. 1862)

Next up is Stalin’s Agent: The Life and Death of Alexander Orlov by Boris Volodarsky. Andrei Znamenski recommends an erudite and meticulously researched study (no. 1861).

Finally Josh Ehrlich believes Barbarism and Religion: Volume 6, Barbarism: Triumph in the West by J. G. A. Pocock represents as monumental an achievement as could be hoped for from any historian in any age (no. 1860).

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New reviews: Medieval romance, Brits and apartheid, Puritans and Democrats

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random34We start this week with Michael Johnston’s Romance and the Gentry in Late Medieval England, as Katie Bridger and the author discuss an insightful, fascinating contribution to our understanding of the world of the gentry (no. 1859, with response here).

Then we have a great interview by Jordan Landes with Elizabeth Williams, talking about her most recent book, The Politics of Race in Britain and South Africa, which examines British support for the anti-apartheid movement among its own black communities (no. 1858).

Next is The Crisis of British Protestantism: Church Power in the Puritan Revolution, 1638–44 by Hunter Powell. James Mawdesley praises a fine work of scholarship, which will surely become essential reading for those investigating the religious politics of the British Isles at a critical moment in their histories (no. 1857).

Finally we have Lily Geismer’s Don’t Blame Us: Suburban Liberals and the Transformation of the Democratic Party, and Patrick Andelic believes this timely, original and richly detailed book should be required reading for all those seeking to understand the modern Democratic Party (no. 1856).

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New reviews: Henrykow Book, C18 satirical prints, Nixon and Europe, origins of Europe

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henrykowWe start with The Text and the World: The Henryków Book, Its Authors, and their Region, 1160-1310 by Piotr S. Gorecki. Shami Ghosh and the author discuss a work which succeeds magnificently in providing a history of a European monastic institution that serves as an example of European history within a larger, overarching framework (no. 1855, with response here).

Next up is John Richard Moores’ Representations of France in English Satirical Prints 1740-1832, and James Baker finds much to recommend in this lively volume (no. 1854).

We then turn to Richard Nixon and Europe: The Reshaping of the Postwar Atlantic World by Luke A. Nichter. Robert Ledger believes this to be an excellent study of the transatlantic relationship during this period and a fine addition to the historiography of the Nixon Presidency (no. 1853, with response here).

Finally we have a review article on the origins of the landscape of Paris by Anthony Nardini, covering Planning the Greenspaces of Nineteenth-Century Paris by Richard S. Hopkins and How Paris Became Paris: The Invention of the Modern City by Joan DeJean (no. 1852).

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New reviews: Orthodox Church, Jefferson, Cuba, medieval textiles and Galileo revisited

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Gentile_Bellini_003We begin with a response by Christopher Black to an earlier review of Thomas Mayer’s The Roman Inquisition: Trying Galileo.

We then turn to Render unto the Sultan: Power, Authority and the Greek Orthodox Church in the early Ottoman Centuries by Tom Papademetriou, and Jonathan Harris tackles a book with a credible new thesis, but which contains significant methodological flaws (no 1851).

Next up is Democracy’s Muse: How Thomas Jefferson Became an FDR Liberal, a Reagan Republican, and a Tea Party Fanatic, all the while being Dead by Andrew Burstein. David Houpt reviews an interesting and relevant analysis of the politics of historical memory (no. 1850).

Steve Cushion then discusses two very different books on modern Cuba, as he reviews Revolutionary Cuba: A History by Luis Martínez Fernández and Leadership in the Cuban Revolution: The Unseen Story by Antoni Kapcia (no. 1849, with response here).

Finally we have Dressing the Part: Textiles as Propaganda in the Middle Ages, edited by Kate Dimitrova and Margaret Goehring. Janet Snyder believes that despite some structural drawbacks, this collection is an important publication (no. 1848).

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New reviews: C19 cities, Austro-Hungary in WW1, civil rights and Carolingian religion

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5We start this week with The Demographic Imagination and the Nineteenth Century City. Paris, London, New York by Nicholas Daly. Martin Hewitt and the author discuss a rich and rewarding new book (no. 1847, with response here).

Then we turn to Marvin Benjamin Fried’s Austro-Hungarian War Aims in the Balkans during World War I, and Mesut Uyar reviews a book which will be of value to scholars of Austria-Hungary and generalists alike (no. 1846).

Next up is Power, Politics, and the Decline of the Civil Rights Movement: A Fragile Coalition, 1967-1973 by Christopher P. Lehman. Emma Folwell believes this study provides an engaging and much-needed narrative of the fate of national Civil Rights organisations (no. 1845).

Finally Benjamin Pohl recommends Felice Lifshitz’s Religious Women in Early Carolingian Francia: A Study of Manuscript Transmission and Monastic Culture, a fine and well-argued piece of scholarship (no. 1844).

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New reviews: Civil War, Dissenters, Presbyterians and Indian Ocean

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abraham-lincoln-civil-war-1We start this week with Don H. Doyle’s Cause of all Nations: An International History of the American Civil War, as Martin Crawford and the author discuss a persuasive account of the American Civil War’s contemporary significance (no. 1843, with response here).

Next up is The Dissenters Volume III: The Crisis and Conscience of Nonconformity by Michael R. Watts. D. Densil Morgan praises a fitting epitaph to a life-long academic venture (no. 1842).

Then we turn to Benjamin Bankhurst’s Ulster Presbyterians and the Scots Irish Diaspora, 1750-1764, with David Dickson reviewing a short but tantalizing monograph which shows the importance of this general field, and presents a fascinating case study within it (no. 1841).

Finally we have Ocean of Trade: South Asian Merchants, Africa and the Indian Ocean, c1750-1850 by Pedro Machado. Gerard McCann believes this book succeeds in its aim to do ‘global history from a regional perspective’ (no. 1840).

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