The reviewer's first duty is easily accomplished. This is a feast of entertainment and instruction to the diplomatic historian (and even more to the undiplomatic historian) of Ireland, Britain, Europe, Israel, India, Burma, the British Commonwealth in general, South America, the U.S.A., and the United Nations.
It has been fashionable to downplay the importance of battles in medieval military history. 'Most campaigns did not end in battle largely because both commanders were reluctant to risk battle', was John Gillingham's verdict. He pointed out that Henry II never fought a battle, yet had a great military reputation.
Sweden, Prussia, and Russia. Three great powers were forged in the fire of the Northern Wars. The military monarchies fed on weaker neighbours where such existed. In the sixteenth century, Poland-Lithuania, Brandenburg and Sweden carved up the small Baltic empire left by the crusading knights of the Teutonic Order.
How should we read the Crusades? The question begs a host of others, not least how do we read them, in the light of how we have read them in the past.
The aim of Roderick McLean's book is to assert the continuing importance of monarchs in European politics in the decades immediately before 1914.
To contemporary observers looking back, official French attitudes towards immigrants and resident foreigners at times appear more than a little ambiguous. While officially espousing a rhetoric of 'inclusiveness', selection and stereotype have nonetheless been common.
John Charmley is, of course, no stranger to controversy.... How tempting it would be to begin a review of his latest book in this vein.
Two anti-Trinitarians shared the distinction in 1612 of being the last persons to be burned for heresy in England. The execution of Oliver Plunkett in 1681 was the last martyrdom of a Catholic on English soil. A Scottish student hanged for blasphemy in 1697 was the last person in the British Isles to be executed for his religious views.
Even the most self-pitying modern man, besieged on all sides by the forces emasculation and objectification (at least if he believes our Sunday newspapers), must think themselves lucky not to be forced to practise the difficult art of eighteenth-century manliness.
The chapters in this collection were originally given as papers at a conference at the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies at the Harvard University in 1997, sponsored jointly by the North American Conference on British Studies and the Royal Historical Society.