It is said that ‘efficiency is doing better what is already being done’, although the word in English derives from the Latin efficere; simply, to accomplish. In its crudest sense then, regardless of culture or nationality, the vast majority of humanity engages in efficiency at a personal level on a daily basis.
When one is sent such an item to review one inevitably speculates why. Is one a known purveyor of hot air? Or just vulgar and unshockable?(1) Is one being set up for Max Reger’s response to a music critic? 'Ich sitze in dem kleinsten Zimmer in meinem Hause. Ich habe ihre Kritik vor mir.
Fergus Campbell’s book explores the relationship between agrarian conflict and nationalist politics in the period from 1891 to 1921. Although the study focuses primarily on the five counties of Connaught, with a particular emphasis on east Galway and especially the Craughwell area, provincial and local events are located in a national context.
Given that the growth in the cultural prominence of the young was one of the most remarkable features of western society in the 20th century, serious historical studies of youth culture do not come along as often as they should. For this reason I was very pleased to be asked to review David Fowler’s new book, which contains much original archive research.
To study Russia before the late 19th century is to labour under a twofold handicap.
Once, radicals of the late 18th and early 19th century appeared as distinctly respectable. They were earnest, improving, and mindful of the public good, which was all of a piece with the sober Dissenting stock from which many of them sprang. There was, of course, a revolutionary fringe, but this was inhabited by the overwrought or the immature.
M. Mikell Johnson has produced a groundbreaking work in sports history, which focuses on the exploits and organisation of black women in golf. JoAnn Gregory-Overstreet notes in the foreword that Johnson’s book ‘represents the first complete body of work dedicated to the love of the game of golf exhibited by pioneering women of color’ (p. ix).
In October 1283, Edward I stood in a unique position. He had achieved a goal which had eluded his predecessors back to the time of the Conquest: the subjection of Wales. His military campaigns to assert his overlordship had begun six years previously, but now his dominance was final. This in itself was unique, but the episode had a more significant aspect.
The museums and historic sites of South Africa are a highly significant and revealing source of evidence for investigating how the country’s various communities have come to terms with their complex history and have chosen to project it publicly.
Cars for Comrades is a kind of ‘total history’ of the automobile and ‘car culture’ in the Soviet Union, one that is exhaustively researched and engagingly written.