Browse all Reviews
The parliamentary papers of the UK are one of the most important sources for the history of the UK and its former colonies in the 18th and 19th centuries, in their original form a series of thousands of printed reports.
Rayne Allinson’s new book, A Monarchy in Letters: Royal Correspondence and English Diplomacy in the Reign of Elizabeth I, highlights some of the gaps missing in the historiography of the queen’s own involvement in foreign affairs. The author acknowledges that there is a curious void here; what about the queen’s own words?
David Rollison has written a remarkable work of social and political history: vertiginously ambitious, A Commonwealth of the People showcases England’s constitutional and economic development from the 11th to the 17th century within world histories of nationalism, democratization, and globalization. ‘My subject’, he writes, ‘is the emergence of a “civilization”’ (p. 16).
This book is the result of a bold and innovative research project funded between 1999 and 2002 by the then Arts and Humanities Research Board, with further funds provided subsequently by a number of scholarly institutions. The preface further acknowledges the support of a glittering array of scholars, not least Geoffrey Parker who read through the entire draft.
The central place of petitioning in the work of the English parliament has long been recognised: the 18th-century editors of the rolls of parliament included unenrolled petitions in their text wherever they felt able to assign them to a particular assembly, and to this day Members of the House of Commons may deposit written petitions in a bag provided for this purpose at the back
Law and Authority in Early Modern England is a tribute to a professor of law and history at the University of California, Berkeley who has for over 40 years made important contributions to early modern English history. In fact, as the editors point out, Tom Barnes hardly confined himself to England.
This study sets itself the task of restoring ‘the tarnished reputation that Henry VIII’s bishops have earned from contemporaries and historians alike’.(p. 7) From Francis Bacon, through David Hume, and into the twentieth century, historians have condemned the occupants of Henry’s episcopal bench as mediocrities and time-servers.
The arrival of this new synthesis provides an occasion for Elizabethan military historians to reflect how far this field has come in the past twenty years, as has the whole field of early modern military history.
Nearly a century after G.M.
Few figures in British history have such storied reputations as Elizabeth I or James VI & I. The three books reviewed here represent recent contributions to changing and evolving approaches to these rulers. While none of the authors offers a bold new interpretation, Pauline Croft most successfully draws together twenty years of revisionist scholarship to present a new composite portrait.