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New reviews: C20 German prisons, medieval Scotland, English law and Russian courts

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We start this week with The Corrigible and the Incorrigible: Science, Medicine, and the Convict in Twentieth-Century Germany by Greg Eghigian. Janet Weston and the author debate an excellent book which aims to disrupt Anglo-centric versions of penal welfarism (no. 2095, with response here).

Next up is The Shape of the State in Medieval Scotland, 1124-1290 by Alice Taylor. Toby Salisbury praises an ambitious and thorough first full-length study of 12th- and 13th-century Scottish government (no. 2094).

Then we turn to Martial Law and English Laws, c.1500-c.1700 by John M. Collins. Ian Williams and the author discuss a book which demonstrates the importance of martial law to the English and imperial polity (no. 2093, with response here).

Finally, we have a review of Russia and Courtly Europe: Ritual and the Culture of Diplomacy, 1648-1725 by Jan Hennings. Tatyana Zhukova welcomes a new perspective on the complex relations and direct encounters within the world of princely courts (no. 2092).

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New reviews: Renaissance Venice, queer London, early modern economy and international law

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We start this week with Everyday Renaissances: The Quest for Cultural Legitimacy in Venice by Sarah Gywneth Ross. Thomas Goodwin and the author discuss an important, innovative and thought-provoking contribution to the history of Renaissance Italy (no. 2087, with response here).

Next up is Sex, Time and Place: Queer Histories of London c.1850 to the Present, edited by Simon Avery and Katherine Graham. Harry Cocks has reservations about a volume which shows the kaleidoscopic effect of queer as a method (no. 2086).

Then we turn to An Age of Risk: Politics and Economy in Early Modern Britain by Emily C. Nacol. Aidan Beatty thinks this book provides a well-versed and coherent intellectual genealogy of risk and of the social experience of living with risk (no. 2085).

Finally, we have Lauren Benton and Lisa Ford’s Rage for Order: the British Empire and the Origins of International Law, 1800-1850. Alex Middleton enjoys a book that deserves to have major implications for international legal history (no. 2084).

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New reviews: Margaret MacMillan, American Enlightenments, Queens Consort, and Queen Elizabeth

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We start this week with Bad Queen Bess? Libels, Secret Histories, and the Politics of Publicity in the Reign of Queen Elizabeth I . Andrew Hadfield and Peter Lake discuss a book which continues the author’s lifelong labour of making sense of the complex legacy of post-Reformation thought in England (no. 2083, with response here).

Next up is Queens Consort, Cultural Transfer and European Politics, c.1500-1800, edited by Helen Watanabe-O’Kelly and Adam Morton. Estelle Paranque believes this is a collection scholars and students with an interest in queenship will not want to miss out on (no. 2082).

Then we turn to Caroline Winterer’s American Enlightenments: Pursuing Happiness in the Age of Reason. Tom Cutterham reviews a new take on the enlightenment, but one which risks glossing over the violence that made it possible (no. 2081).

Finally, in the latest of our occasional Reviews in History podcast series, Daniel Snowman talks to Margaret MacMillan about her background, career, key publications and future plans (no. 2080).

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New reviews: mercenaries, Wilson, US health and urban history

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We start this week with The Mercenary Mediterranean: Sovereignty, Religion and Violence in the Medieval Crown of Aragon by Hussein Fancy, as Robin Vose is stimulated by a serious work of historical research (no. 2079).

Next up is Harold Wilson: The Unprincipled Prime Minister?, edited by Andrew S. Crines and Kevin Hickson. Adam Timmins appraises a sympathetic collection which still falls short of fully rehabilitating Wilson’s reputation (no. 2078).

Then we turn to Nancy Tomes’ Remaking the American Patient: How Madison Avenue and Modern Medicine turned Patients into Consumers, as Martin Gorsky tackles a big, original contribution to the field, which signposts important directions for future study (no. 2077).

Finally Bill Luckin reviews two books which show the exciting, rewarding and revealing state of current urban history, What is Urban History? by Shane Ewen and Global Cities: A Short History by Greg Clark (no. 2076, with response here).

Also, please do check out John Walter’s response, just in, to Eilish Gregory’s review of Covenanting Citizens: The Protestation Oath and Popular Political Culture in the English Revolution.

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New reviews: Reformation, leaks, Wolfenden and medieval counsel

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We start this week with All Things Made New: Writings on the Reformation by Diarmaid MacCulloch, as David Davis navigates a useful map of the untidy academic overgrowth of Reformation historiography (no. 2075).

Next up is Lloyd Gardner’s War on Leakers: National Security and American Democracy, from Eugene V. Debs to Edward Snowden. Christopher Fuller believes this book adds to the noise and clamour of the current debate rather than providing an even-handed treatment (no. 2074).

Then we turn to Wolfenden’s Witnesses: Homosexuality in Postwar Britain by Brian Lewis. Helen Lewis enjoys a book which problematises and re-evaluates the 1950s as well as making a vital contribution to the history of sexuality (no. 2073).

Finally we have a review of The Politics of Counsel in England and Scotland, 1286-1707, edited by Jacqueline Rose. Matt Raven praises a thought-provoking, engaging and well-edited collection (no. 2072).

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New reviews: Ireland, Soviet Union, US egalitarians and C14 magic

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kennedyWe start this week with Liam Kennedy’s Unhappy the Land: The Most Oppressed People Ever, the Irish? Penelope Corfield and the author discuss a manifesto to Irish pluralism, which should be required reading for all historians of Ireland (no. 2067, with response here).

Next up is The Struggle to Save the Soviet Economy: Mikhail Gorbachev and the Collapse of the USSR by Chris Miller. Isaac Scarborough enjoys (with caveats) a work which betters our knowledge and understanding of the politics behind the Soviet economic collapse (no. 2066).

Then we turn to Sean Wilentz’s Politicians & the Egalitarians: The Hidden History of American Politics, as Christopher Childers assesses a mixed bag of essays in an age of political fracture (no. 2065).

Finally we have Rewriting Magic: An Exegesis of the Visionary Autobiography of a Fourteenth-Century French Monk. Benedek Lang reviews an unusual book, the chronicle of an intellectual trip (no. 2064).

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New reviews: Lincoln, Enlightenment lawyers, sleep and abbots

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healeWe start this week with Lincoln and the Politics of Slavery: The Other Thirteenth Amendment and the Struggle to Save the Union by Daniel Crofts. Phillip Magness and the author discuss a book which carefully grounds Lincoln’s presidency in evidence (no. 2063, with response here).

Then we turn to Karen Baston’s Charles Areskine’s Library: Lawyers and their Books at the Dawn of the Scottish Enlightenment, as Alexander Murdoch praises a profoundly scholarly study that reflects on the impact of Enlightenment culture (no. 2062).

Next up is Sleep in Early Modern England by Sasha Handley. Olivia Weisser reviews a valuable book that shows how something as routine as sleep can open a window onto the physical, spiritual, and emotional lives of the past (no. 2061).

Finally , we have Martin Heale’s The Abbots and Priors of Late Medieval and Reformation England. Katherine Harvey admires the broad scope, deep learning, and provocative conclusions of this ambitious book (no. 2060).

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New reviews: C of E historians, East German memory, Irish biography and medieval Ravenna

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William Stubbs, English historian and Anglican bishop.

We commence this issue with a review of James Kirby’s Historians and the Church of England. Alexander Hutton and the author discuss a rewarding, diligent, and empathetic excursion into a lost world of Victorian intellectual history (no. 2059, with response here).

Next up is Amnesiopolis: Modernity, Space and Memory in East Germany by Eli Rubin, and Jörg Arnold believes Eli Rubin has written a wonderfully inspiring study which will be of great interest to social and cultural historians of the GDR (no. 2058).

Then we turn to Padraig Lenihan’s The Last Cavalier: Richard Talbot (1631-91). John Cronin belatedly reviews a book which succeeds in giving us a more rounded and nuanced understanding of its subject (no. 2057).

Finally we have Ravenna: its role in earlier medieval change and exchange, edited by Janet Nelson and Judith Herrin, which Ross Balzaretti praises as a collection that challenges the myth of Ravenna’s early medieval decline and does so in great style (no. 2056).

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New reviews: Civil War moderates, pre-industrial local history, disability and Algeria

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Edward ‘laugh a minute’ Everett

First up this week we have Apostle of Union: A Political Biography of Edward Everett by Matthew Mason. Daniel Crofts and the author discuss a timely biography depicting a persistent moderate who deplored North-South sectional polarization (no. 2055, with response here).

Then we turn to The Grass Roots of English History: Local Societies before the Industrial Revolution by David Hey, as Richard Hoyle reviews a very personal vision of what local history might be, the outcome of a lifetime’s reading, thinking, teaching and writing (no. 2054).

Next up is Jameel Hampton’s Disability and the Welfare State in Britain. Chloe Trainor praises a valuable contribution both to the historiography of the welfare state, and disabled people more generally (no. 2053).

Finally we turn to Sung-Eun Choi’s Decolonization and the French of Algeria: Bringing the Settler Colony Home. Kelsey Suggitt believes students and established scholars alike will find this a useful resource, particularly in terms of studying decolonization (no. 2052).

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New reviews: Civil War, Mass Observation, Indian railways and parliamentary papers

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lincolndouglasWe start this week with The Rivers Ran Backward: The Civil war and the Remaking of the American Middle Border by Christopher Phillips. Robert Cook and the author discuss a book which is essential reading for anyone interested in the American Civil War and its unforeseen consequences (no. 2051, with response here).

Next up is James Hinton’s Seven Lives from Mass Observation, which David Kilgannon believes will serve as an exemplary model for future historians of social history, Mass Observation and the latter half of 20th-century Britain (no. 2050).

Then we turn to Tracks of Change: Railways and Everyday Life in Colonial India by Ritika Prasad, and Aparajita Mukhopadhyay praises a book which deserves a wide audience and is a valuable addition to social historiography of Indian railways (no. 2049).

Finally, the IHR’s very own Kate Wilcox  reviews Pro-quest’s UK Parliamentary Papers: House of Commons, which she recommends as being an immensely powerful and wide-ranging tool for research (no. 2048).

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