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Hardly had the fighting petered out on the Somme in November 1916 than one American reviewer, W. S. Rusk, was warning scholars that much writing about the Great War would be lost to the ‘winnowing flail of time’.(1)
Jane Lead and the Philadelphian Society are not particularly well known figures to most scholars of late 17th- and early 18th-century religion. Born in 1624, Lead experienced a spiritual awakening aged 16. On Christmas Day 1640, while her family danced and celebrated, she was overwhelmed with a ‘beam of Godly light’ and a gentle inner voice offering spiritual guidance.
Jim Bolton is a much respected and well liked figure in London academic circles, who took up a post at Queen Mary College (as it was then called) in 1965 and has remained there ever since, despite his official retirement in 1994. He works on the medieval economy, and kept the subject alive during episodes when specialists in that subject were in short supply in the University of London.
Owen Hatherley’s latest book is a compelling exploration of one way in which the British political establishment and the British public (mis)interpret, (mis)remember, and (fail to) engage with history. The history with which Hatherley is concerned is the Attlee government of 1945–51, set within the wider era described mostly, vaguely, as ‘post-war’.
Many clerics had a low opinion of Henry the Young King of England in his own lifetime, but infinitely more damaging to his long-term reputation was how his memory was damned in 1875 by the Regius Professor, and eventual Anglican bishop, William Stubbs.
Historians of pretty well every field and period have long acknowledged that historical enquiry cannot (indeed, must not) be limited to describing the actions and experiences of elites.
In the 21st century John Owen (1616–83) already looks likely claim the prize as the most studied of the 17th-century puritans. Compared to the ubiquitous Richard Baxter, contender for the same prize in 20th-century scholarship, Owen was more cerebral and less alive to the power of fashioning a cult of personality around himself.
Éamon de Valera (1882–1975) is considered by many to be the most significant political figure in 20th-century Ireland.(1) He remains controversial and his achievements and legacy have often been challenged. In this new biography Ronan Fanning makes a very persuasive case that de Valera was indeed significant and that his achievements were considerable.
Thomas Ahnert’s The Moral Culture of the Scottish Enlightenment is an unusual work. Little more than an extended essay, its brevity and lucidity belie the complexity and force of its central thesis. Whilst there is no doubt that the book represents an important historiographical intervention, it is rather harder to explain why or where it does so.
Mercantilism, Lars Magnusson believes, was at its core ‘a series of discussions that tried to grapple with a rapid developing world of commerce and the effects it had on polities and communities in Europe during the early modern period’ (p. 48).