When the Cold War ended it brought to a close the latest in a series of major challenges to western maritime supremacy. This, no doubt temporary, respite has forced the navies of the western world to focus on their role in a new environment in which high intensity war at sea is improbable in the immediate future.
The period from the late 1980s has seen a belated but growing interest in the social and cultural history of women's music life and Paula Gillett's elegantly written, widely researched and thought-provoking monograph is a welcome addition to the literature.
Some historians only write big books and Keith Wrightson is among them, but he does so repeatedly, and in two sorts: pathbreaking, detailed, empirical local studies on the one hand, and magisterial, interpretative overviews on the other.
Jonathan Scott's major reinterpretation of the seventeenth century, the most turbulent period in English political history, is timely. It coincides with the ongoing debate over Britain's place in Europe, the current experiment in devolution and the recent discussion of the monarchy's relevance.
Governance has replaced government as the object of fascination for political scientists. As the structures of the state are steadily dismantled so it has become necessary to look elsewhere for the seats of power and the means by which it is exercised.
Many writers attribute Ireland's problems to colonialism. Most, however, make only limited reference to literature on colonialism elsewhere, and debate is hampered by the intimacy of the Irish academic and intellectual scene, which means criticism is muffled by tact or excessively personalised.
The Renaissance in Europe is an ambitious enterprise. It includes five volumes, at least five disciplines (history, art history, history of science, music and literature, in French and Spanish as well as in English), and a team of twenty-three people, from the course manager to the picture researchers and of course the thirteen authors.
It is to be expected that many edited collections of essays will be somewhat disparate in content and approach whatever the overall framework. This volume, however, is even more disparate than most.
The figure of the devadasi, or ‘temple-woman’, who entertained Hindu gods at festivals, hardly needs an introduction. Because of her supposed sexual availability, the devadasi became a potent and notorious symbol of the corruption of Hindu society.
It is one of those quirky features of our ancient, but constantly changing, Constitution that one particular Cabinet Office document may warrant such an extensive enquiry. However, Amy Baker's Prime Ministers and the Rule Book rises to the challenge and produces a convincing and illuminating study.