Eamon Duffy’s The Stripping of the Altars (Yale, 1992) provided a broad, compelling account of popular religion in England before and during the Reformation, and was a book which undoubtedly changed the way we think about late medieval Catholicism and the popular experience of religious change.
In spite of its intellectual, literary and comic brilliance, this book contains a dark and disturbing, but revealing, message. In some ways, my melancholy reading of Bodies Politic has inevitably been shaped by Roy's recent untimely death. Roy Porter was without doubt the finest social historian of medicine this country, or indeed the world, has produced.
The cover is a view from Stirling Castle: in the foreground a carved lion rampant, in the background the Wallace Tower, the Scottish national monument, raised by public subscription in 1859; in the valley below, Stirling Bridge somewhere near the site of William Wallace's victory over the forces of Edward I in 1297; just out of the picture, the field of Bannockburn.
The narrow streets of ancient Naples are like the bottoms of chasms that meet at right angles.
Robert Hooke (1635–1703) is a pivotal figure in the intellectual life of seventeenth-century Europe. In the study to hand, Michael Cooper intends to ‘rectify some of the neglect and misunderstandings about Hooke by examining his work in London as City Surveyor after the Great Fire and relating this to his work in science’ (p. 2).
Gender in History is a timely publication. The field of gender history is reaching maturity in two senses. Firstly, numerous studies have been published about the impact of gender at various times and places. Professor Merry Wiesner-Hanks draws on this wealth of scholarship and her own research to provide a welcome overview of gender in global history from prehistory to date.
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.
Cardinal Richelieu famously claimed in his Testament Politique that 'There is no nation on earth so little suited to war than our own', accusing the French of fickleness and impatience in even the least of tasks.
That grand old patron saint of London historians, John Stow, currently seems to be inspiring a new wave of historical and literary studies.
Among those scholars who write on early modern Europe, Geoffrey Parker occupies a position of well-merited prominence. His books, essays, articles and other publications have greatly extended the understanding of early modern Europe among practising historians, their students and the wider public alike.