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It was hardly to be expected that the sesquicentennial might come and go without the Civil War’s most preeminent historian offering his thoughts on the subject, and James McPherson has not let us down. Not that The War that Forged a Nation is in any direct sense a comment on or reaction to the sesquicentennial; it is neither.
In one of his last letters to his neighbor and confidant, Thomas Jefferson asked James Madison ‘to take care of me when dead’.(1) Jefferson, like most of the ‘founding fathers’ thought deeply about his legacy and place in history. He spent hours arranging his papers for posterity and composed a memoir of sorts, the ‘Anas’, in an effort to set the record straight.
For all historians of this last, most violent, century some concern with matters of war and peace has been unavoidable.
The funniest moment in the British Library’s wonderful Magna Carta: Law Liberty, Legacy exhibition comes towards its end, in a recent cartoon by Stephen Collins (sadly not reproduced in the excellent catalogue, but available
Biography has always been as something of the black sheep of historical writing; we cannot do without it, yet it always looked down upon, particularly by those in the profession that are committed to more high-flown subjects and methods of analysis. Yet there can be no doubt that John Campbell has made a serious contribution to British political history through his biographical studies.
Barry Doyle’s new study addresses a subject area that has lately attracted much interest from social, political and medical historians. The reasons why Britain’s inter-war health services have become such a hot topic are not hard to discern.
In the latest of our occasional Reviews in History podcast series, Daniel Snowman talks to Professor Sir Ian Kershaw about his research into dissent in Bavaria under the Nazi regime, his approach to biography, and his forthcoming contribution to the Penguin History of Europe series.
Four years ago I published a review in this journal of a book on The Origins of Racism in the West.(1) I would like to begin the analysis of the volume by Bethencourt in the same way in which I began my piece on The Origins of Racism in the West, i.e.
The beginnings of Europe is not a very complicated historical subject. After the end of Roman domination in the fifth century CE, so-called ‘successor states’ grew up in the territories and around the margins of what had been the Western Roman Empire, and out of those states grew France, Spain, Italy and (with greater complications) England and Germany.
The origin of the imperial college of electors has remained an enigma, despite a lengthy procession of monographs devoted to it. This set collects the majority of Armin Wolf’s large-scale contributions to the solution of the enigma, along with various short papers and book reviews, and several new studies are included.