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Reviews in History

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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New reviews: Naval impressment, war satire, Mughal culture, Irish charity


We start this week with Poseidon’s Curse: British Naval Impressment and Atlantic Origins of the American Revolution by Christopher Magra. Paul Gilje and the author discuss a well written, carefully organized, and deeply researched book which perhaps takes the evidence too far (no. 2124, with response here).

Next up is Lesley Milne’s Laughter and War: Humorous-Satirical Magazines in Britain, France, Germany and Russia 1914-1918. Pip Gregory enjoys a book which offers a well written overview of the humour of four nations during the Great War (no. 2123).

Then we turn to Culture of Encounters: Sanskrit at the Mughal Court by Audrey Truschke. dmond Smith praises an evocative, expertly researched book that brings the collaborative, sometimes combative, world of translation to life (no. 2122).

Finally we have Karen Sonnelitter’s Charity Movements in Eighteenth-Century Ireland. Philanthropy and Improvement. James Kelly reviews an engaging study of the improving and charitable impulses of the 18th century (no. 2121).

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New reviews: Russian Empire, New York, Siberia and frontiers


We start this week with The Russian Empire 1450-1801 by Nancy Shields Kollmann, as Orel Beilinson and the author discuss a masterpiece of equal value to specialists and the general public (no. 2120, with response here).

Next up is Tyler Anbinder’s City of Dreams: The 400-Year Epic History of Immigrant New York. Jonathan Wilson recommends a book which is likely to remain a standard work of reference for many years (no. 2119).

Then we turn to A Prison Without Walls: Eastern Siberian Exile in the Last Years of Tsarism by Sarah Badcock. Jonathan Smele praises a notable achievement that will be of interest to scholars of tsarist and Soviet Russia (no. 2118).

Finally we have a response by author Gregory Evans Dowd to last week’s review of  Groundless: Rumors, Legends, and Hoaxes on the Early American Frontier (response to no. 2115) .

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New reviews: Henry VII, medieval marriage, frontier rumours and mass tourism


We start this week with Henry VII’s New Men and the Making of Tudor England by Steven Gunn, as Christine Carpenter praises a long-awaited book of breathtaking scholarship and thoroughness (no. 2117).

Next up is Philip Reynolds’ How Marriage Became One of the Sacraments: The Sacramental Theology of Marriage from its Medieval Origins to the Council of Trent. Wolfgang Müller and the author discuss a magisterial and comprehensive guide to Western theological reflection (no. 2116, with response here).

Then we turn to Groundless: Rumors, Legends, and Hoaxes on the Early American Frontier by Gregory Evans Dowd. Asheesh Siddique believes this book innovatively reorients the narrative of colonization and conquest in early North America (no. 2115).

Finally we cover a new digital resource, Leisure, Travel and Mass Culture – The History of Tourism. Susan Barton enjoys a fascinating collection of sources for researchers, students and teachers of travel and tourism (no. 2114).

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New reviews: 1960s, peace, Heligoland and Eisenhower


We start this week with Christopher Strains’s The Long Sixties: America 1955-1973. Louisa Hotson praises a textbook that lives up to the best ideals of the genre (no. 2113).

Next up is a review of the current Imperial War Museum exhibition People Power: Fighting for Peace. Alison Wilcox reviews this depiction of the history of peace movements and the anti-war cause (no. 2112).

Then we turn to Heligoland: Britain, Germany, and the Struggle for the North Sea by Jan Rüger. John R. Davis believes the reader of Rüger’s volume will be fascinated, surprised, horrified and moved (no. 2111).

Finally we have a response by author David Haven Blake to last week’s review by Thomas Tunstall Allcock of Liking Ike: Eisenhower, Advertising and the Rise of Celebrity Politics (response to no. 2107)

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New reviews: China, drink, reformations and Ike


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


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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