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Reviews in History


New reviews: China, drink, reformations and Ike

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We kick off with Robert Bickers’ epic Out of China: How the Chinese Ended the Era of Western Domination. Phoebe Chow tackles a well-written, exciting and important book on the Sino-Western relationship (no. 2108).

Next up is A History of Drink and the English, 1500-2000 by Paul Jennings. Pam Lock praises a valuable addition to drink history literature which provides a much-needed introduction to the subject (no. 2110).

Then we turn to Carlos Eire’s Reformations: the Early Modern World, 1450-1650. Sam Kennerley finds this volume provides a readable and stimulating overview of European history between 1450 and 1650 (no. 2109).

Finally, we have Liking Ike: Eisenhower, Advertising, and the Rise of Celebrity Politics by David Haven Blake. Thomas Tunstall Allcock enjoys a book which prompts the reader to consider how we choose our political leaders and the means by which the foundations of presidential images are created (no. 2107).

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New reviews: Southern slaveholders, pied-noirs and harkis, naval families and royal confessors

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We start with Matthew Karp’s This Vast Southern Empire: Slaveholders at the Helm of American Foreign Policy. David Tiedemann explores a good example of how to combine a study of American ideas about world power, and the global economy, with a study of federal policy (no. 2106).

Next up is From Empire to Exile: History and Memory Within the Pied-Noir and Harki Communities by Claire Eldridge. Sung eun Choi believes this book will remain indispensable reading for those interested in the role played by memory in decolonization (no. 2105).

Then we turn to Ellen Gill’s Naval Families, War and Duty in Britain, 1740-1820. Catherine Beck recommends this book to anyone looking to incorporate a naval dimension to 18th-century patriotism, family and friendship (no. 2104).

Finally, we have Voices of Conscience: Royal Confessors and Political Counsel in Seventeenth-Century Spain and France by Nicole Reinhardt. Jonathan Dewald praises a fine exploration of political advice-giving in the early modern centuries (no. 2103).

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New reviews: Dutch football, twilight of history, medieval Hungary & tuberculosis

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We start this week with Four Histories About Early Dutch Football 1910-1920: Constructing Discourses by Nicholas Piercey. Matthew McDowell and the author discuss a radical post-modern work of sport history (no. 2102, with response here).

Next up is Twilight of History by Shlomo Sand. Beverley Southgate praises an eminently readable book of clear importance for both politics and education (no. 2101).

Then we turn to Ritual and Symbolic Communication in Medieval Hungary under the Árpád Dynasty by Dušan Zupka. Nora Berend reviews a patchy study of rituals and symbolic communication in medieval Hungary (no. 2100).

Finally, we have a response from author Christian McMillen to last week’s review of his Discovering Tuberculosis: A Global History, 1900 to the Present (see response here) .

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New reviews: humanitarianism, tuberculosis, Islam and Red Ellen

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London Foundling Hospital

We start this week with From Empire to Humanity: The American Revolution and the Origins of Humanitarianism by Amanda B. Moniz. Eric Herschthal and the author discuss a new and important book for anyone interested in the history of human rights (no. 2099, with response here).

Next up is Christian McMillen’s Discovering Tuberculosis: A Global History, 1900 to the Present. Vivek Neelakantan thinks this book should be recommended reading on any course on international health (no. 2098).

Then we turn to Forging Islamic Power and Place: The Legacy of Shayk Da’ud bin ‘Abd Allah al-Fatani in Mecca and Southeast Asia by Frances Bradley. William Noseworthy believes this book provides a rich new analysis of Islam in the context of global history, which will resonate within the walls of the classroom and beyond (no. 2097).

Finally, in the latest of our occasional podcast series, Jordan Landes and Laura Beers chat about the latter’s new biography Red Ellen: The Life of Ellen Wilkinson, Socialist, Feminist, Internationalist (no. 2096).

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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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