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As a concept and as a practice, the provision and reception of counsel was a crucial cornerstone of the polities of medieval and early modern Britain. Those in positions of authority, whether king, regent, ruling council or mayor, were expected to hear virtuous advice. This would, it was fervently hoped, guide the course of governance and ensure just rule.
A popular exhibition at the Wellcome Trust in London, running for three months from October 2016, Bedlam: the Asylum and Beyond promised to ‘reimagine the institution, informed by the experiences of the patients, doctors, artists and reformers who inhabited the asylum or created alternatives to it’.
There are two approaches to writing a significant history book. One is ‘going big’ and covering the broadest range of historical phenomena within a large geographical space during a wide time span. This approach makes use of vast and variegated historical bibliographies and well-selected primary sources.
Reconstruction, we are told, has moved on.
The subject of oath swearing has long been recognised in the historiography for its importance in interpreting loyalty in early modern England, especially in times of heightened religious and political tensions.
Sombre in subject matter, lucid in approach, impressive in range, brilliant in insights, sturdy in documentation, judicious in tone, coolly courageous in its willingness to debunk stereotypes: all these descriptions amply fit Líam Kennedy’s manifesto to Irish pluralism, entitled Unhappy the Land.
In the West, it can be easy to forget just how closely China and the USSR were once bound in political imaginations. Today, the USSR is a land to which there is no return: a figment of past dreams and nightmares – whereas China is on everyone’s mind, a growing economic power that has shed its socialist past to move to the forefront of the new capitalist order.
Sean Wilentz has become our generation’s foremost historian as public intellectual, positioning himself as a blend of Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. and Richard Hofstadter, the historical giants of the mid-20th-century era of consensus. Wilentz, however, lives in what another thoughtful historian, Daniel T. Rodgers, has called an ‘age of fracture’.
Rewriting Magic is an unusual monograph both in its style and in its content. It is the latest publication in the Magic in History series by Penn State University Press. The Press started issuing this series more than two decades ago, and it has become by now a flourishing and exciting enterprise with nearly 20 titles including monographs, text editions and collections of essays.
I recall the moment when I first encountered the existence of the so-called Corwin amendment of 1861. It happened by chance in an undergraduate political science class on constitutional law. The textbook contained a brief synopsis of the rediscovery and revival of the 27th amendment, ratified in 1992 some two centuries after its congressional adoption.