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

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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

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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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Latest Reviews – US revolutionaries, French sexual revolution, Victorian historicism and London smoke

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We begin this week with Tom Cutterham’s Gentlemen Revolutionaries: Power and Justice in the New American Republic. Lindsay Chervinsky praises a book which offers a complex and active view of the 1780s (no. 2189, with response here).

Next up is From Vichy to the Sexual Revolution: Gender and Family Life in Postwar France by Sarah Fishman. Charlotte Faucher and the author discuss a clear, convincing account of post-war France (no. 2188, with response here).

Then we turn to Historicism and the Human Sciences in Victorian Britain, edited by Mark Bevir. Alex Middleton thinks this collection represents a missed opportunity given the presence of so many distinguished historians (no. 2187).

Finally we have William Cavert’s The Smoke of London. Elly Robson enjoys a book that opens up new horizons for rich, multifaceted histories of environmental change (no. 2186).

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Latest Reviews – Witches, Cats & Dogs, Soldiers and Print Culture

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We begin this week with Ronald Hutton’s The Witch: A History of Fear From Ancient Times to the Present. Willem de Blécourt and the author debate – I think it’s fair enough to say that they don’t agree (no. 2185, with response)!

Next up is The Great Cat and Dog Massacre: the Real Story of World War II’s Unknown Tragedy by Hilda Kean. Maggie Andrews and the author discuss a welcome contribution to the ongoing process of chipping away at the pernicious national narrative of the Second World War as a ‘People’s War’ (no. 2184, with response).

Then we turn to Ilya Berkovich’s Motivation in War: The Experience of Common Soldiers in Old-Regime Europe. Joe Cozens enjoys an impressive first monograph from an extremely adept and promising military historian (no. 2183).

Finally we have Commemoration and Oblivion in Royalist Print Culture, 1658-1667 by Erin Peters. Imogen Peck believes it is a testament to the the originality of this book and the liveliness of the field that it succeeds in raising as many questions as it answers (no. 2182).

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Latest Reviews – Tasmania, kitchens, US Civil War and sex regulation

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We begin this week with Into the Heart of Tasmania: A Search for Human Antiquity by Rebe Taylor. Tom Lawson and the author discuss a book which is much more than a straightforward history (no. 2181, with response here).

Next up is Sara Pennell’s The Birth of the English Kitchen, 1600-1850. Rachel Laudan believes this research opens up the possibility of investigating the relationship between changes in the kitchen and the industrial revolution in 18th-century England (no. 2180).

Then we turn to Paying Freedom’s Price: A History of African Americans in the Civil War by Paul D. Escott. Carin Peller-Semmens finds this book fails to paint a historically accurate and suitably complex narrative (no. 2179).

Finally we have Martin Ingram’s Carnal Knowledge: Regulating Sex in England, 1470–1600. Charmian Mansell reviews a book that the reader will find him or herself returning to time and again (no. 2178).

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Latest Reviews – Burgundy, Holocaust, election agents and paupers

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We begin this week with Robert Stein’s Magnanimous Dukes and Rising States: the Unification of the Burgundian Netherlands 1380-1480. Katherine Wilson and the author discuss a huge contribution to the scholarship of the Burgundian Dominions (no. 2177, with response here).

Next up is The Holocaust: A New History by Laurence Rees. Joseph Cronin praises a gripping narrative interspersed with compelling, moving and relatable testimony (no. 2176).

Then we turn to Kathryn Rix’s Parties, Agents and Electoral Culture in England, 1880-1910. Iain Sharpe enjoys a book which manages to break new ground and make a significant contribution to current historiographical debates (no. 2175).

Finally we have Pauper Policies: Poor Law Practice in England 1780-1850 by Samantha Shave. Joseph Harley finds this book largely convincing and well-researched, and believes it to be a strong platform for further research on pauper policies (no. 2174).

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Latest from Reviews in History – race, Lincoln, early Lancashire welfare and Mormons

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Anyway, we begin this week with Richard McMahon’s The Races of Europe: Construction of National Identities in the Social Sciences, 1839-1939. Ian Stewart and the author debate a valuable contribution to the histories of ideas and science, linking them to the cultural history of national identities (no. 2173, with response here).

Next up is Lincoln, Congress, and Emancipation, edited by Donald R. Kennon and Paul Finkelman. Susan-Mary Grant and the editors discuss a collection largely dedicated to the heroes of America’s national story (no. 2172, with response here).

Then we turn to Jonathan Healey’s The First Century of Welfare: Poverty and Poor Relief in Lancashire, 1620-1730. David Hitchcock recommends an history of poor relief in Lancashire across the 17th and early 18th centuries (no. 2171).

Finally we have Unpopular Sovereignty: Mormons and the Federal Management of Early Utah Territory by Brent M. Rogers. James Williamson believes any historian seeking to understand debates over sovereignty within antebellum America should consult this work (no. 2170).

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Latest from Reviews in History – nuclear protest, Thomas Jefferson, slave owners database and medieval ritual

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We start this week with Better Active than Radioactive! Anti-Nuclear Protest in 1970s France and West Germany by Andrew S. Tompkins. Sinead McEneaney and the author discuss a work which places the focus squarely on the transnational connections between activists and activist groups (no. 2169, with response here).

Next up is Annette Gordon-Reed and Peter S. Onuf’s ‘Most Blessed of the Patriarchs’: Thomas Jefferson and the Empire of the Imagination. David Houpt enjoys a fascinating look into the psyche of one of America’s most enigmatic figures (no. 2168).

Then we turn to the Legacies of British Slave-Ownership database. Daniel Livesay praises a tremendous resource and tool for the history of slavery, the West Indies, Britain, and the Atlantic World (no. 2167).

Finally we have a response by author Dušan Zupka to Nora Berend’s review of Ritual and Symbolic Communication in Medieval Hungary under the Árpád Dynasty.

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Latest from Reviews in History – nuns, bishops, racist ideas and public health

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We start this week with Tom Crook’s Governing Systems: Modernity and the Making of Public Health in England, 1830–1910. Christopher Hamlin and the author discuss a book big in scope, range, and thought (no. 2166, with response here).

Next up is Stamped from the Beginning, The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi. Richard King and the author debate a National Book Award winning attempt to re-cast of the framework of assumptions and vocabulary of concepts used in writing about slavery and race (no. 2165, with response here).

Then we turn to S. T. Ambler’s Bishops in the Political Community of England, 1213-1272. Robert Swanson thinks that although this book is not totally successful, it offers a stimulating approach which merits serious attention (no. 2164).

Finally we have English Benedictine Nuns in Exile in the Seventeenth Century by Laurence Lux-Sterritt. Kristof Smeyers believe the themes of this book – diaspora, displacement, abandon, isolation, community – are universal (no. 2163).

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Latest from Reviews in History – Irish & German nationalism, British war planning, New Orleans slavery

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We start this week with Shane Nagle’s Histories of Nationalism in Ireland and Germany: A Comparative Study from 1800 to 1932. Jean-Michel Johnston and the author debate a book which reveals interesting similarities and differences between important texts in the national historiographical traditions of Ireland and Germany (no. 2162, with response here).

Next up is The Fear of Invasion: Strategy, Politics, and British War Planning, 1880-1914 by David G. Morgan-Owen. Christian Melby and the author discuss a book which offers new insights into a leadership who tried to balance an offensive military policy with defending the heart of the empire itself (no. 2161, with response here).

Then we turn to Rashauna Johnson’s Slavery’s Metropolis: Unfree Labor in New Orleans During the Age of Revolutions. Matthew Stallard believes this book offers scholars of the African diaspora and many other areas a fruitful conceptualisation with which to frame future projects (no. 2160).

Finally we have an expanded response to last week’s review of An African Volk by author Jamie Miller.

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