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.
This book is one of a series entitled The Making of Europe, which aims 'to address crucial aspects of European history in every field - political, economic, social, religious, and cultural' (p. xii).
The history of public health has been a flourishing field in the last three decades. Yet despite a spate of excellent monographs about various epidemic diseases and many good collections about health and disease in Africa, Asia, The Middle East, Latin America, as well as Europe and North America, the most recent textbook on the history of public health is four decades old.
Professor Spence is described on the dust-cover of this book as 'perhaps now the leading historian of China in the English-speaking world'. Without doubt he is the most imaginative and the most versatile scholar working in that field. The Gate of Heavenly Peace, first published in 1981, was a history of modern China as seen through the lives of Chinese writers and intellectuals.
How should we read the Crusades? The question begs a host of others, not least how do we read them, in the light of how we have read them in the past.
One of the most difficult, and under-rated, jobs undertaken by the historian is that of the synthesis. Text books covering long periods of historical time demand the exclusion of vast quantities of material.
In recent decades, the fields of women's and gender studies have rapidly expanded. In trying to understand women's roles in past societies, historians have paid particular attention to issues surrounding marriage, family, and the household.
Professor Jacob's book is the latest of her several notable contributions to masonic history, which have included The Radical Enlightenment (1981) and Living the Enlightenment (1991). The book's title presumably owes something to my book of the same name (1988), while the subtitle derives from Henry Sadler's remarkable Masonic Facts and Fictions (1887).
In the introductory chapter to her engaging book, Ruth Watts remarks on the 'dissonance' between women and science and the seeming paucity of scholarly literature on the subject. Upon deeper investigation, however, Watts soon discovers that she is mistaken.
Early-modern Europe (here covering the years from 1492 to 1750) was constantly beset by plagues of all kinds. Scarcely a year passed in western Europe until the 1720s without an outbreak of ‘pestilence’, and scarcely a decade without a major epidemic that killed ten, twenty, or even forty per cent of the community. Expansion brought with it new dangers.