The appearance of a paperback version of an important book first published in 1995 is most welcome as it will make it more readily available. Equally, it is not easy to review such a work. The scholarly reviews that appeared noting its contents do not require emendation, because the book has not been rewritten.
The writing of history – any history – is shaped by the intellectual environment in which it is written, and by the preoccupations of its writers. As Christopher Tyerman acknowledges in his prefatory remarks, ‘writing history is not a neutral revelation but a malleable, personal, contingent, cultural activity’ (p. xi).
In his new book Steven Pinker, psychologist at Harvard University, sets out to fundamentally alter our understanding of the trajectory of violence from pre-historic times to the present. He takes issue with the widely held perception that the most recent past, the 20th century, was an age of large-scale bloodshed and genocidal slaughter.
The historical literature on Afghanistan and the various armed conflicts fought on its soil has greatly increased in recent years, due to the tragic events following the American-led invasion of the country in October 2001.
Elizabeth Schmidt’s Foreign Intervention in Africa: From the Cold War to the War on Terror is an enticing prospect for those studying conflict and warfare in contemporary Africa.
The study of war and memory has been popular amongst cultural historians for over two decades, yet scholarly interest in the subject shows no sign of abating. Indeed, as this collection demonstrates, memory remains a fruitful area of research, particularly if approached from a comparative perspective.
Early in his single-term presidency, Jimmy Carter dismissed as ‘just semantics’ a flap that arose after he extemporaneously echoed Israel’s position that any peace settlement with its neighbours required ‘defensible borders’.(1) In fact, as his aides quickly clarified, Carter had actually meant a return to Israel’s pre-1967 borders with minor adjustments for s
Strategy: A History has to be the magnum opus of the academic life of Sir Lawrence Freedman. Rich in detail and deeply contextualising, this book is not only the longest but also the most diverse work in recent years on the evolution of strategy. The book is based on a life of scholarship as well as the most recent overviews on the topic.
The disintegration of communist federations at the end of the Cold War represented the most momentous reconfiguration of the boundaries of Eastern Europe since 1945.
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.