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Author Archives: dannymillum

Latest reviews – Holocaust memories, slave reproduction and Irish emigrés


We start this week with Survivor Café: The Legacy of Trauma and the Labyrinth of Memory, an innovative book by Elizabeth Rosner. Ellis Spicer believes this book’s contribution to the field lies in its raw emotionality, personal stories and thematic strengths (no. 2215).

Then we turn to Katherine Paugh’s The Politics of Reproduction: Race, Medicine and Fertility in the Age of Abolition. Trevor Burnard believes this book to be a valuable addition to a venerable literature on slave reproduction in the Caribbean (no. 2214).

Finally we have Irish Nationalists in America: The Politics of Exile, 1798-1998 by David Brundage. David Sim appreciates a sharp and well-written book which forces us to appreciate the ways in which nationalism was perceived as a liberating force by many in the 19th century (no. 2213).

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Latest reviews – C19 consumption, medieval religion, modern magic and 10 commandments revisited


Happy New Year to all Reviews in History readers! We start 2018 with the latest in our occasional podcast series, a fascinating interview with Joanna Cohen discussing among other things her new book, Luxurious Citizens: The Politics of Consumption in Nineteenth-Century America, and her future research plans (no. 2212).

Then we return to The Reformation of the Decalogue: Religious Identity and the Ten Commandments in England, c. 1485-1625  by Jonathan Willis, with a response by the author to last month’s review (response to no. 2208).

Next up is Medieval Religion and its Anxieties: History and Mystery in the Other Middle Ages by Thomas A. Fudgé. Kieran Creedon praises a fascinating study from a writer that engages, energises and uses sources to put the very idea of the historical Middle Ages on trial (no. 2211).

Finally Francis Young reviews a valuable contribution to the interdisciplinary study of magic, Edward Bever and Randall Styers’ edited collection Magic in the Modern World: Strategies of Repression and Legitimization (no. 2210).

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Latest reviews – secret files, Decalogue, Anschluss and more WW1 trauma


We start this week with Secret Files from World War to Cold War: British Government and Secret Intelligence and Foreign Policy files. Dan Lomas believes the sheer size and usability of the digital records makes this a worthwhile aid for anyone interested in early 20th-century international, political, military and intelligence history (no. 2209).

Then we turn to The Reformation of the Decalogue: Religious Identity and the Ten Commandments in England, c. 1485-1625  by Jonathan Willis. John Reeks praises a book which puts The Ten Commandments firmly at the centre of post-Reformation scholarship (no. 2208).

Next up is Imagining a Greater Germany: Republican Nationalism and the Idea of Anschluss by Erin R. Hochman. Timothy Schmalz enjoys a book which provides new template for examining Austria and Germany during the inter-war period (no. 2207).

Finally we have a response by editors Jason Crouthamel and Peter Leese to Ryan Ross’s review last week of Psychological Trauma and the Legacies of the First World War and Traumatic Memories of the Second World War and After (response to no. 2205).


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Latest Reviews – War, psychological trauma and early modern social history


We start this week with A. C. Grayling’s War: An Enquiry. In his review of this penetrating and provocative book, James Cronin focuses on its assertion that war is synonymous with the ascent of civilisation (no. 2206).

Next up is a review of two new collections on the history of trauma, Psychological Trauma and the Legacies of the First World War and Traumatic Memories of the Second World War and After, both edited by Jason Crouthamel and Peter Leese. Ryan Ross believes these reflect the extent and speed of the growth of the trauma industry (no. 2205).

Then we turn to Narratives and Representations: a Collection to Honour Paul Slack, edited by Michael Braddick and Joanna Innes. Naomi Pullin praises a fine scholarly collection that represents the rich and vibrant discussions taking place within early modern history (no. 2204).

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Report of IHR’s Long Eighteenth-Century Seminar book launch in the Speaker’s House



The print (1730) shows the ‘Great Speaker’ Onslow in the chair (centre), calling prime minister Walpole at his elbow (left) to speak, before a packed House of Commons.  [National Trust number = 1441463]

This post was kindly written for us by P. J. Corfield (Royal Holloway, London University) on behalf of the IHR’s Long Eighteenth-Century Seminar.  

Mary Clayton, who has just published A Portrait of Influence: Life and Letters of Arthur Onslow, the Great Speaker (Parliamentary History Trust, 2017), once declared that the only possible place to launch such a volume would be the Speaker’s House at the Palace of Westminster. But, she said, that was obviously out of the question. On the contrary, replied the organisers of London University’s seminar in British History in the Long Eighteenth-Century. Contact the Speaker; and tell him that we have to celebrate the most hegemonic of all Speakers in appropriate style. And, all credit to John Bercow, he not only lent us the Speaker’s House free of charge  but came himself to give a witty speech.

The seminar-cum-launch-party took place on Wednesday 1 November. It was a glittering ‘outreach’ evening. Over 70 people attended, including seminar regulars, MPs, members of the House of Lords, curators, librarians, local history researchers, and the current Earl Onslow. (Arthur Onslow (1691-1768) wanted no other title than that of Speaker – a post he held for over thirty years – but his son was ennobled as a family tribute). The Long Eighteenth-Century seminar warmly thanks all its sponsors, including the Parliamentary History Trust which co-hosted. And the moral: academics can but ask for the use of famous outreach venues at special discounts. Often that tactic doesn’t work. Yet sometimes it does, as it did for Mary Clayton – and the ‘Great Speaker’ Arthur Onslow, whose behind-the-scenes influence obviously lingers ….

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Latest Reviews – Ukrainian famine, Louis VIII and Archbishop Randall Davidson


We start this week with Anne Applebaum’s Red Famine: Stalin’s War on Ukraine. Christopher Gilley finds the treatment of the famine here to be largely convincing – the book’s weakness is its historical framework (no. 2203).

Next up is Louis: The French Prince Who Invaded England by Catherine Hanley. Tom Horler-Underwood enjoys a book highlighting the exploits in this country of this most fascinating of French princes (no. 2202).

Then we turn to Michael Hughes’s Archbishop Randall Davidson. Peter Webster believes this fresh and convincing rendering of an important figure deserves a wide readership (no. 2201).

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Latest Reviews – Bank of England, shell-shock, Tudor houses and C17 women writers


We start this week with David Kynaston’s Till Time’s Last Sand: A History of the Bank of England 1694-2013. Geoffrey Wood reviews a gallant attempt at a history of the Bank for the general reader, but one which misses its target (no. 2200).

Next up is Shell-Shock and Medical Culture in First World War Britain by Tracey Loughran. Stefanie Linden largely enjoys a fascinating account of medical discourse in Britain throughout the First World War (no. 2199).

Then we turn to Simon Thurley’s Houses of Power: The Places the Shaped the Tudor World. Audrey Thorstad recommends a refreshing new view into the Tudor dynasty (no. 2198).

Finally we have Women Writing the English Republic 1625-1681 by Katharine Gillespie. Gaby Mahlberg believes this bold and innovative book is an important milestone in challenging the male-dominated republican canon (no. 2197).

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The Food and Drinke of Samuel Pepys


This week is Being Human, the annual festival of the humanities and the arts – this year on the theme of ‘Lost and Found’. For its contribution, the IHR takes you back to the 1660s, and the loss of Charles II’s warship, The London, which sank in the Thames estuary in March 1665, and was found and excavated from 2005.

On 22 November the IHR hosted an evening of underwater archaeology, sea shanties and Restoration coffee houses. Commemoration of The London now continues into December with an exhibition at the IHR of artefacts recovered from the wreck, including pipes, pots, shoes and musket balls.

IHR Digital’s modest contribution to all things Restoration is the British History Online quiz: 10 questions on the (often wonderful, sometimes bizarre) eating and drinking habits of Samuel Pepys (1633-1703), who worked at the Navy Board in 1665. You’ll find all the answers in British History Online (, the IHR’s free digital library of medieval and early modern primary sources. Send us your answers by Friday 2 December.

British History Online ‘Being Human’ 2017 Quiz – The Food and Drinke of Samuel Pepys

British History Online (BHO) is a free digital library of 1200 medieval and early modern primary sources volumes, created by IHR Digital. It includes nearly 500 references to Samuel Pepys, including many to his habits during the 1660s. Use BHO to answer the following 10 questions on Samuel’s tastes in food and drinke.

  1. What did Samuel Pepys acquire ‘by the BARREL’ from Billingsgate market?
  1. What was Pepys’s laxative of choice in 1664?
  1. In the same year, Pepys was recommended what as treatment for the stone?
  1. What did Pepys consider as a ‘very easy, speedy, and cleanly’ alternative to shaving?
  1. What were the ingredients of ‘Plague water’, given to Pepys in 1665?
  1. What fruit did Pepys consider ‘now a great rarity since the war, none to be had’ in 1666?
  1. For what culinary dish did Pepys use a ‘hanging jack’?
  1. What ingredients went to make, in Pepys’ opinion, ‘the best universal sauce in the world’?
  1. In 1668 Pepys purchased ‘a hundred of sparrowgrass’ at 1s. 8d. which he and Mrs Pepys ate with ‘a little bit of salmon’. We still do the same: what is ‘sparrowgrass’?
  1. To what did Pepys refer when he spoke, in 1669, of a ‘very fine drink; but, it being new, I was doubtful whether it might not do me hurt’?

Yemail your answers to, marked ‘BHO: Pepys’.

Deadline, Friday 2 December

Winner receives an annual subscription to British History Online.

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Latest Reviews – Labour Party, medieval peacemaking, Irish poverty & crusaders


We kick off this week with John Gaffney’s Leadership and the Labour Party: Narrative and Performance. Christopher Massey believes this book provides vital reading for all interested in Ed Miliband’s leadership of the Labour Party and the development of political narrative and performance (no. 2196, with response here).

Next up is The Benefits of Peace: Private Peacemaking in Late Medieval Italy by Glenn Kumhera. Alexandra Lee and the author discuss a book which provides a deeper insight into the complicated practices of private peacemaking in medieval Italy (no. 2195, with response here).

Then we turn to Lindsey Earner-Byrne’s Letters of the Catholic Poor: Poverty in Independent Ireland, 1920-1940. David Kilgannon praises a book which challenges other historians of 20th-century Ireland to ‘people their pasts’ (no. 2194).

Finally we have The Uses of the Bible in Crusader Sources, edited by Elizabeth Lapina and Nicholas Morton. Stephen Spencer recommends a book which adds substantially to our understanding of the sources and the intellectual milieu of their authors (no. 2193).

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Latest reviews: William the Conqueror, Stefan Collini, blackface and Indian news


We begin this week with David Bates’ William the Conqueror. Matthew Bennett and the author debate the extent to which this biography shows sufficient empathy for its subject (no. 2192, with response here).

Next up is Common Writing: Essays on Literary Culture and Public Debate by Stefan Collini. Tim Rogan and the author discuss a collection of pieces which read together for the first time yield a clearer sense of the general preoccupations which unite them (no. 2191, with response here).

Then we turn to Brian Roberts’ Blackface Nation: Race, Reform, and Identity in American Popular Music, 1812-1925. Eran Zelnik highlights the strengths and weaknesses one of the most informative and persuasive recent cultural histories of the 19th century (no. 2190).

Finally we have a response by Amelia Bonea to our previously published review of her book The News of Empire: Telegraphy, Journalism and the Politics of Reporting in Colonial India (response to 2149).

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