The following articles have been published today in Reviews in History, the IHR’s e-journal of reviews of historical publications and electronic resources.

Review no. 731

Appeasement in Crisis: From Munich to Prague, October 1938 – March 1939, by David Gillard (Basingstoke: Palgrave-Macmillan, 2007).

Reviewer: Robert Boyce (London School of Economics)

‘Gillard’s challenge to the broadly conventional view of British pre-war foreign policy is well-focussed and clearly written, and will be appreciated by those seeking a detailed account of what was said in Cabinet and to the Cabinet by its senior Foreign Office and military advisers.It must be said, however, that this is already very familiar territory, given that the Cabinet and Foreign Office papers upon which Gillard relies have been the subject of minute examination in the nearly forty years since they were opened to the public.’

Review no. 732

The Mantra of Efficiency: From Waterwheel to Social Control
, by Jennifer Karns Alexander (Baltimore, MD: John Hopkins University Press, 2008).

Reviewer: Peter Sutton (Centre for Contemporary British History / British Postal Museum & Archive)

‘In The Mantra of Efficiency, Alexander, based at the University of Minnesota’s Department for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine, has produced a thought provoking study underwritten by a wide range of secondary literature and no small amount of primary research, including much conducted in London, Paris and Berlin. Her book is a brief but ambitious attempt to understand efficiency as an article of intellectual history in Europe and America since the 18th century, tracing modern understandings of the concept back to the study of early industrial machinery, through industrial revolution and post-enlightenment rationality, and into the 20th century when it became ubiquitous, and its meanings and use more diverse and influential.’

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