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.
Surveying the latter half of the 20th century in Britain, Professor James Hinton highlights the popular tendency to consider this period in terms of its characteristic decades. There is ‘the boring 1950s, the exciting 1960s, the crisis-ridden 1970s, [and] Mrs. Thatcher’s 1980s’ (p. 23).
One of the most memorable and unsettling works of historical fiction to appear in the last 15 years is Louis de Bernières’ Birds without Wings, which tells the stories of the inhabitants of Eskibahçe, a fictional village in the Ottoman Empire, in the years before, during and after the First World War.
Heinrich Himmler apart, former poultry farmers don't figure much in the bibliography of military history. Martin Middlebrook, however, proves to be the outstanding exception. With this one book, his first, Middlebrook prised open a new window onto Great War studies in general, and in particular onto the 1916 Battle of the Somme.
To counter what he sees as the increasing influence of cultural studies, John Tosh has argued that historians need ‘to reconnect with that earlier curiosity about experience and subjectivity, while recognising that experience is always mediated through cultural understandings’.(1) As if in response to that plea, Balfour’s World sets out to examine and understa
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)
The parliamentary papers of the UK are one of the most important sources for the history of the UK and its former colonies in the 18th and 19th centuries, in their original form a series of thousands of printed reports.
Eli Rubin has written a wonderful book that does not just tell a fascinating story about an important but much neglected subject, but also manages to link this story to much broader historiographical, and indeed ontological, questions about the intersections between space, on one hand, and power, time and lived experience on the other.
So often, intellectual history is about inheritances. Historians study what is passed down from one age to the next. This has often led to the problem that we tend to focus on what is more familiar, engaging, or at least recognisable, and leads us to ask: why study that which has not left an inheritance?
Sean Wilentz has become our generation’s foremost historian as public intellectual, positioning himself as a blend of Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. and Richard Hofstadter, the historical giants of the mid-20th-century era of consensus. Wilentz, however, lives in what another thoughtful historian, Daniel T. Rodgers, has called an ‘age of fracture’.