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Latest from Reviews in History – Apartheid, Aelred of Rievaulx, Vietnam and Samuel Marsden


We start this week with Jamie Miller’s An African Volk: The Apartheid Regime and Its Search for Survival. Robert McNamara and the author discuss what is perhaps the most important book written about South African foreign policy in the mid-Cold War era (no. 2159, with response here).

Next up is A Companion to Aelred of Rievaulx (1110–1167), edited by Marsha L. Dutton. Charlie Rozier believes this companion makes essential reading for students and scholars seeking to explore Aelred for the first time (no. 2158).

Then we turn to Jessica Frazier’s Women’s Antiwar Diplomacy During the Vietnam War. Jon Coburn finds this book persuasively asserts that the example shown by Vietnamese women during the war fundamentally influenced the development of women’s liberation in America (no. 2157).

Finally we have The World, the Flesh and the Devil: the Life and Opinions of Samuel Marsden in England and the Antipodes, 1765-1838 by Andrew Sharp. Ged Martin and the author disagree as to whether the controversial Marsden should be allowed tell his own story without a larger measure of independent commentary (no. 2156, with response here).

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New reviews: Slavery, Morocco, Carolingian Empire and Roosevelts


We start this week with Emily West’s Enslaved Women in America: From Colonial Times to Emancipation. Kristen Brill recommends a book which masterfully presents the narrative of women’s lived experiences in slavery through the prism of gender (no. 2155, with response here).

Next up is The Ethnographic State: France and the Invention of Moroccan Islam by Edmund Burke. July Blalack believes this story of the French colonial archive reveals many disturbing aspects of knowledge production (no. 2154).

Then we turn to Matthew Brian Gillis’s Heresy and Dissent in the Carolingian Empire: the Case of Gottschalk of Orbais. Scott Ashley gives thanks for an important study for scholars of the Carolingian world and of early-medieval religious culture (no. 2153).

Finally we have Wars of the Roosevelts: The Ruthless Rise of America’s Greatest Political Family by William J. Mann. Dario Fazzi praises an impressive 600-page volume scoping out the secrets, antagonisms, and feuds of the Roosevelts (no. 2152).

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Reviews in History as a research aid for A-Level students and undergraduates


This post has kindly been written for us by IHR Digital intern Tom Keidan.

I’m an undergraduate currently interning with the IHR Digital department, and as part of this I have been working on the online journal Reviews in History. This is a resource that I’ve used in the past, and the editor suggested that it might be interesting for other A-level and university students to hear how I’ve found it useful in my studies.

This was certainly the case during my A-Level studies, when Reviews in History proved to be an invaluable research tool, effectively and concisely summarising secondary material for a wider non-specialist audience.

When studying historiographical debates surrounding the Holocaust during both my A-Level and university studies, in-depth reviews of monographs such as Tom Lawson’s Debates on the Holocaust ( and Dan Stone’s Histories of the Holocaust ( proved invaluable in summarising wider concepts and debates which I was initially unable to fully grasp. Furthermore, the comprehensive bibliography provided at the end of each review enabled me to further research alternative studies which helped to develop my specialist knowledge of such a vast topic.

During my university studies, the reviews on Reviews in History have continuously proved to be highly useful in providing me with wider background material; in addition, being able to filter searches according to geographical area and period has allowed me to effectively and quickly gather reviews for material relevant to modules which cover a specific period and place.

Furthermore, Reviews in History includes reviews of various primary archival material which have been extremely useful when embarking on my dissertation research; by filtering by categories such as films, exhibitions and digital resources, the reader is able to easily and effectively look through relevant primary material reviews in order to supplement previous secondary reading. In particular, a review of the British Library’s Propaganda: Power and Persuasion ( exhibition provided insight into the nature of state propaganda which proved highly useful in supplementing my existing university knowledge.

Ultimately, Reviews in History seems to me to be a highly useful tool for both general audiences as well as more specialist historians. I highly recommend this website whether you are looking for help with A-Level history studies or more complex university level material!


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Latest reviews – shell shock, world’s fairs, Indian journalism and Europe’s India


We start this week with Stefanie Linden’s They Called it Shell Shock. Combat Stress in the First World War. Michael Robinson and the author discuss a book of great interest to shell shock historians, specialists in trauma studies, and those interested in the social and cultural effects of the First World War (no. 2151, with response here).

Next up is Adam Matthew’s World’s Fairs: A Global History of Exhibitions. Anthony Swift profiles a valuable digital resource for those interested in the history of design, technology, architecture, imperialism, nationalism, gender, anthropology, consumer culture and more (no. 2150).

Then we turn to Amelia Bonea’s The News of Empire: Telegraphy, Journalism and the Politics of Reporting in Colonial India. Anindita Ghosh praises a rich and informative book that opens out the way for further and interesting research into telegraphy and journalism (no. 2149).

Finally we have Europe’s India – Words, People, Empires, 1500-1800 by Sanjay Subrahmanyam. Tiraana Bains believes this book weaves together engaging narratives of early modern itinerancy and encounter with incisive criticism of existing historiographical grand narratives (no. 2148).

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Latest from Reviews in History – slavery, C19 America, Ancient Greece and factory fire


We start this week with Alice Rio’s Slavery After Rome, 500-1100. Shami Ghosh and the author discuss one of the central questions in the historiography of early medieval Western Europe: how did the transition from slavery to serfdom take place? (no. 2147, with response here)

Next up is Divided Sovereignties: Race, Nationhood, and Citizenship in Nineteenth-Century America by Rochelle Zuck. Nathan Cardon enjoys a book which puts politics and nation-making back into the conversation on 19th-century race and identity (no. 2146).

Then we turn to Johana Hannink’s The Classical Debt: Greek Antiquity in an Era of Austerity. Helen Roche praises a triumph of popularisation which should provide a fruitful starting-point for more detailed surveys (no. 2145).

Finally we have See You In The Streets: Art, Action, and Remembering the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire by Ruth Sergel. Chloe Ward reviews a book which recounts the author’s attempts to commemorate the fire through a series of interlinked art projects-cum-social interventions (no. 2144).

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Latest from Reviews in History – Huguenots, civil wars, communes and medieval Venice


We start this week with Facing the Revocation: Huguenot Families, Faith and the King’s Will by Carolyn Chapelle Lougee. Raymond Mentzer enjoys a highly original set of insights into the uncertainties and burdens that French Protestants encountered as they confronted the royal proscription of their ancestral religion (no. 2143).

Next up is David Armitage’s Civil Wars: A History in Ideas. John Collins speculates that this new book might cause a revolution within the discipline, possibly preceded by civil war…(no. 2142).

Then we turn to Living the Revolution: Urban Communes and Soviet Socialism 1917-1932 by Andy Willimott. James Ryan believes this to be an excellent book that deserves to be read widely by all those interested in early Soviet history (no. 2141).

Finally Georg Christ reviews two resources which make precious sets of data accessible in a durable, easy and useful way – CIVES: citizenship privileges in Venice, 1180-1500 and ESTIMO: the Venetian fiscal roster of 1379 (no. 2140)

See our full list of reviews here

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New reviews: Cold War, Easter 1916, Ottonian Queenship


We start this week with Understanding the Imaginary War: Culture, Thought and Nuclear Conflict, 1945-90, edited by Matthew Grant and Benjamin Ziemann.Mattias Eken and the editors discuss a detailed and thorough presentation of the cultural history of the Cold War (no. 2139, with response here).

Next up is Fearghal McGarry’s The Rising: Ireland: Easter 1916. John Borgonovo and the author debate a work which offers a a wealth of thought-provoking material (no. 2138).

Then we turn to Ottonian Queenship by Simon MacLean. Levi Roach praises a thoughtful and original work, a bold and erudite contribution in a field in which conservatism often predominates (no. 2137).

Finally we have a response from editors Simon Avery and Katherine Graham to Harry Cocks’ review of Sex, Time and Place: Queer Histories of London c.1850 to the Present (read response here).

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New reviews: atheism, parishes, Algeria, antibiotics


We start this week with Becoming Atheist: Humanism and the Secular West by Callum Brown. Russell Blackford and the author discuss a book which raws on the methods of oral history to examine how Western nations became markedly more secular in the long 1960s (no. 2136, with response here).

Next up is Nigel Saul’s Lordship and Faith: the English Gentry and the Parish Church in the Middle Ages. Robert Swanson and the author reflect on a truly ambitious and challenging project, significant for both both ‘gentry studies’ and ‘parish studies’ (no. 2135, with response here).

Then we turn to Mecca of Revolution: Algeria, Decolonization and the Third World Order by Jeffrey James Byrne. Natalya Vince tackles a book which sees the processes of decolonization and the Cold War as enmeshed and mutually dependent (no. 2134).

Finally we have William Rosen’s Miracle Cure: The Creation of Antibiotics and the Birth of Modern Medicine. J. N. Campbell praises an important and highly-readable contribution to the disciplines of medical history and the history of chemistry (no. 2133).

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New reviews: Britain / China, Poland /Lithuania, Russian Hajj & C20 cartography


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).

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New reviews: inter-war Chile, Anglo-Saxon England, women investors and Isabella of Castile


We start this week with The Cry of the Renegade: Politics and Poetry in Interwar Chile by Raymond Craib. Camila Gatica and the author discuss a microhistory of Chile that allows the reader to make uncomfortable connections with the current situation of the country (no. 2128, with response here).

Next up is Tom Lambert’s Law and Order in Anglo-Saxon England. Philippa Byrne reviews a book which engages with matters of identity and community as much as it does legal and social order (no. 2127).

Then we turn to Silent Partners: Women as Public Investors during Britain’s Financial Revolution, 1690-1750 by Amy Froide. Helen Paul praises a book likely to become a key text, which will make a good addition to reading lists about women’s history and/or the Financial Revolution (no. 2126).

Finally we have Giles Tremlett’s Isabella of Castile: Europe’s First Great Queen. Elena Woodacre enjoys an in-depth and approachable biography which will bring Isabel to a wider audience (no. 2125).

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