Academics and the general public alike have an understandable fascination regarding the Spanish Armada. The naval confrontation in the Channel in 1588 and the subsequent disastrous Spanish circumnavigation of the storm-lashed British coastline, helped shape world history from the end of the sixteenth century to the beginning of the twentieth.
'The Oratory of Triumph'
For at least the first half of the twentieth century, Scottish history could be said to have stopped in 1707. The history of the Scottish nation was the history of Bruce, Wallace and the Douglases; of knights in armour, cross-border warfare and corrupt priests.
I come to Paula Bartley's book as someone who has for a number of years, been examining the extent and nature of prostitution in Ireland. Attitudes towards prostitutes and prostitution within Irish culture were in many ways similar to those that prevailed in England. They were also distinctly different.
The chapters in this collective work derive from a conference entitled Apologias for the Nation-State, organized by the editors at the University of Wales in 1996. Taken as a whole, in two respects the book constitutes an unusual and enterprising undertaking.
Reflections on the history of medicine in the second half of the twentieth century make much of the discipline's break with its association with the history of science, and the development of the new approaches and interests signalled by the coming of the 'social history of medicine'.
This is an important book which deserves wide circulation. It is perhaps the only satisfactory extended study yet produced of that important cultural figure Havelock Ellis and the impact of his writings. The parlous state of Ellis scholarship was recently demonstrated by Vernon Rosario's otherwise excellent edited volume Science and Homosexualities (1997).
Although by far the oldest and most numerous ethnic minority in Britain, the Irish have received relatively little attention within British social history or indeed the sociology of migration, race and ethnicity.
Ask most people, including Russians, who have a modest familiarity with European history what they know about medieval Russia and their answer will probably be brief, but will include something about the Mongols, perhaps even 'the Tatar yoke' (for a succinct statement of the difference between Mongols and Tatars see Ostrowski's preface, p. xiii).