How can you know about somewhere you’ve never been? This predicament is at the heart of David Lambert’s superb new book, Mastering the Niger: James MacQueen’s African Geography and the Struggle over Atlantic Slavery. In 1841 the Scottish geographer and proslavery propagandist James MacQueen published A New Map of Africa. MacQueen had never visited the continent.
For every large historical topic – and the transatlantic slave trade is certainly a large one – there is a need for good small books to introduce the academic understanding of the topic to students and the general public. The writing of a good small book on a large topic, however, can be no small challenge.
Professor Faroqhi has long been considered a world expert on Ottoman history and her new book, Travel and Artisans in the Ottoman Empire: Employment and Mobility in the Early Modern World, serves to confirm this position.
Slavery defined the Atlantic world. African forced labour produced the primary materials that drove European mercantile economies. The plantation complex lay at the core of societies from Brazil and the West Indies to the American mainland and West Africa.
Military men, as histories of the Royal Navy in particular have shown, tend to be interested in controlling sanitary conditions. Among seamen, maintaining health was always essential otherwise ships could not remain at sea. The main theme of Dr. Katherine Foxhall’s interesting book is voyages to Australia.
At a time when billboards have been driven around London urging illegal immigrants to ‘go home’, when photographs of the arrests of those suspected of breaching their visas were being tweeted by the Home Office (with the hashtag #immigrationoffenders), and when 39,000 texts stating ‘go home’ have been sent to suspected overstayers, the publication of Tony Kushner's The Battle of Britishness
In this interesting and readable book, Jo Guldi explores the origins and rise of the ‘infrastructure state’ (1) through an historical analysis of centralised road planning, investment and regulation in Britain.
In Ocean Under Steam Frances Steel explores the impact of the 19th-century sea transport revolution in one of the extremities of the British Empire, the South Pacific Ocean. Published as part of the Manchester University Press ‘Studies in Imperialism’ series, under the general editorship of John MacKenzie, this is a self-consciously ‘de-centred’ imperial history.
A landmark moment in Holocaust history and memory occurred in 1989 when about 1,000 Kindertransport survivors attended their 50-year reunion in London. The event commemorated the transport of 10,000 children from Central Europe to safety in Britain. Launched on November 9, 1938, the transport continued for a year until the Nazis ended it when war was declared in September 1939.
There are many ways to write about the history of Italian cycling. John Foot explains that his book ‘tells the story moving between biographies of individual cyclists, tales of races and an analysis of Italian society’ and that ‘space will be dedicated to the role of bicycle in everyday Italian life’ (p. 4).