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The struggle to understand the meaning of the American Civil War continues, and doubtless it will become more contentious as its 150th anniversary approaches. The triumphal, celebratory and exclusively white centenary ceremonies of 1961 and beyond have been replaced by a much more sombre, mournful, if not mawkish tone.
Peter Yearwood has carried out impressively extensive research to produce this account of how British foreign policy was closely linked to the formation and operation of the League of Nations in its early years.
When reviewing books one’s expectations can be raised by the title. In the case of The End is Nigh one could be forgiven for assuming that it must relate to the End of Time and the various ways in which the world might end – cosmic impact; neighbouring supernova; nuclear apocalypse; unstoppable virus; runaway global warming, i.e. large scale global catastrophes.
In early 1840, the New York lawyer and diarist George Templeton Strong noted that the newspapers were obsessed with commentary and speculation about the upcoming wedding of Queen Victoria. All this was ‘doubtless very interesting and important to her Majesty’s loyal subjects’, wrote Strong huffily, but ‘to us republicans is, or ought to be, rather dull and profitless’ (p. 50).
This volume, dedicated to the historian Lawrence W. Levine, was, in the words of its authors, ‘born of our belief that the time is ripe for a broad assessment of U.S. cultural history’.
Jenny Keating’s A Child for Keeps, based on her excellent doctoral study of the subject (1), is a welcome addition to the social history of 20th-century Britain.
Although this book is not very long (109 pages, not counting appendices and index), it might be characterized in multiple ways. First, it is important, making a valuable addition to the literature on medieval prisons. Interestingly, medieval prisons have not attracted a great deal of scholarly attention.
For scholars of early modern church music, monographs are rather like the proverbial bus; one waits a decade or more for one, and then two come along together; in this case, in the same year, and in the same series. The editors of the St Andrews Studies in Reformation History are to be commended for publishing two substantial studies in what has hitherto been a neglected area.
This is a very carefully researched and well-written account of reactions within Britain to the Soviet Union during the industrialisation and forced collectivisation programmes of the 1930s.
Glenn Richardson’s latest contribution to early modern Anglo-French relations comes in the form of this edited volume covering nearly three centuries of contact between England and France from 1420 to 1700. The Contending Kingdoms is essentially the proceedings of a Society for Court Studies conference which took place in London in November 2004.