Consider two of the most intriguing facts contained in this book: while around one in six East Germans disliked their country so much that they left it permanently, one in five adults were prepared to become a member of its ruling party, the SED (Socialist Unity Party). The first fact will come as a surprise to nobody.
Does the study of normality require justification when the latter coexists with atrocity? Semmens's study of tourism in the Third Reich begins on a defensive note, assuring the reader of the author's sensitivity to 'the enduring dissonance between holidays and horror, vacations and violence, tourism and terror' (p. 2).
The re-periodisation of European history achieved in the last few decades is now complete in all but name. The idea of the eleventh to thirteenth centuries as a uniquely formative period for the creation of a European identity no longer surprises academic readers.
In a strange coincidence, two books have been published on 'Charlie', the 7th Marquess of Londonderry, in the last two years: Ian Kershaw's Making Friends with Hitler: Lord Londonderry and Britain's Road to War (2004) and Neil Fleming's, the subject of this review.
The standard of pastoral care provided by the 18th-century Church of England received a notoriously bad press both from its contemporary Evangelical critics and from its Victorian successor.
It is disturbing for an Australian to discover that debates about genocide often do not move very far beyond the classic area of study – Europe under the Nazis – before someone mentions the antipodes. Genocide is a crime, in other words, for which Australia is listed among the usual suspects.
Many scholars have thought to write a full presentation of the relations between the Catholic West and the Mongol Empire during the Middle Ages. It is a demanding task. The author should be specialised in many areas, know many languages, and he or she has to fit his or her presentation into a world historical context.
This is a splendid book, weighty, richly documented and densely argued. The title might suggest a book of focused, perhaps rather limited scope.
The editors of this very useful collection of essays boldly state that it is their thesis that 'early modern botany both facilitated and profited from colonisation and long distance trade and that the development of botany and Europe's commercial and territorial expansion are closely associated developments' (p. 3).
Working Women in English Society offers a fascinating insight into the numerous ways in which women engaged with the market economy in England between 1300 and 1620.