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Over the past few years, no doubt as a consequence of HIV/AIDS newspapers have been full of stories about the threat from plagues some such as TB and bubonic plague appear like spectres from the past while apparently new diseases such as E-coli and the Ebola virus threaten to run riot in the future. It is against such a background that Christopher Wills has published Plagues.
This marvelous book about one of the most controversial and interesting of twelfth-century men deserves the warmest welcome.
Oh, East is East, and West is West,and never the twain shall meet,
Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God’s great Judgment Seat
But there is neither East nor West, Border,nor Breed, nor Birth
When two strong men stand face to face,though they come from the ends of the earth.
Bronislaw Geremek needs no introduction to the international community of historians. In 1995, at the last congress of the International Association of Historians, in Montreal the first plenary session was opened by an hour long video recorded with him, how he sees history being both its expert analyst and also a prominent actor in the past decades.
Paul Hair, Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Liverpool, is best known as one of the pioneers of the academic study of the history of sub-Saharan (or in Hair’s own preferred terminology, Black) Africa from the 1950s onwards.
It is now a decade since these volumes appeared in French and their translation into English, impeccably done, and subsidised by the French Ministry of Culture (would that such an institution existed in Britain) makes available to students and scholars a collection of thirty essays compiled by what looks like a roll call of the most distinguished French anthropologists and historians of th
Joseph Canning's preface acknowledges a debt to his research supervisor Walter Ullmann, whose Penguin History of Political Thought: the Middle Ages, published in 1965 (revised edition 1970) has remained a standard introduction for anglophone readers. A new short guide is timely, and the ex-student's will bid fair to replace the master's.
We have never been less interested in the details of history than we are today, and we have never been more committed to a weak and often reductive view of a romanticized past.
''Five million barrels of porter'' (p. 140)
As even the most casual observer of the British historical scene must know, the 'agricultural revolution' has proved both elusive and highly contentious. French 'immobilism', on the other hand, has become something of a commonplace, although explanations for this supposed failure are less consensual. Philip Hoffman's very welcome new book has two overriding merits.