We start this week with Britain’s Imperial Retreat from China 1900-1931 by Phoebe Chow. Andrew Hillier and the author discuss a fresh and engaging, if not wholly convincing piece of imperial history (no. 2132, with response here).

Next up is Miia Ijäs’ Res publica Redefined? The Polish-Lithuanian Transition Period of the 1560s and 1570s in the Context of European State Formation Processes. Karin Friedrich finds this an occasionally problematic but thought-provoking book which stimulates new questions (no. 2131).

Then we turn to Russian Hajj: Empire and the Pilgrimage to Mecca by Eileen Kane. Charles Shaw praises a rich and novel picture of an empire with many different faces looking upon its Muslim subjects (no. 2130).

Finally we have William Rankin’s After the Map: Cartography, Navigation, and the Transformation of Territory in the Twentieth Century. Tom Simpson reviews a provocatively enlightening book which invites the reader to further explore the complex webs of power and possibilities that form around spatial technologies (no. 2129).