Like most practitioners in global history, Pamela Kyle Crossley, in What is Global History, engages this simple yet profoundly provocative question: ‘how to tell a story without a centre?’ In a smallish, 120-page treat of the question, Crossley provides a gripping overview of the field, along with its genealogy, trends and possibilities.
At the start of this century, Britons were polled about which century was the worst century of the last millennium. They alighted on the 14th century as the century when the four horsemen of the apocalypse rode most freely. The 14th century was the worst because the bubonic plague devastated the population of Eurasia.
Portuguese Colonial Cities in the Early Modern World provides a nuanced investigation into cities with varying degrees of connection to the Portuguese empire during the 16th through the 18th centuries.
Maxwell-Stuart's The Chemical Choir is a potentially useful book about the history of alchemy from its roots in ancient China and Egypt in the 4th century AD until the 20th century. It has several merits. Firstly, it breaks down a complex subject – the study of nature through experiments with chemicals – into ten easy-to-read chapters.
The first principle of understanding history, I was taught, is to sympathize with the historical actors, to immerse oneself in their context and perspective.(1) Otherwise, history becomes a fabricated reconstruction – more about the writer's ideology than the events of the past.
At the conclusion of her history of Marian devotion, Mother of God, Miri Rubin states, ‘For in woman’s capacity to act as a generous host, to contain a body in her body, there is an act of tremendous hospitality’ (p. 424).
Confucius once remarked that rulers need three resources: weapons, food and trust. The ruler who cannot have all three should give up weapons first, then food, but should hold on to trust at all costs: 'without trust we cannot stand'.(1) Machiavelli disagreed.
Ernest Gellner, who died on 5 November 1995, was one of the great polymaths of the century. Many of his twenty books were concerned with philosophy, sociology and anthropology. Yet at the core of his work was an historical question.
Among the challenges that define teaching the history of Britain to undergraduates, those presented by national context are perhaps the most complex.
In this book, Tonio Andrade tells the story of a wild and uncultivated island originally inhabited by aboriginal hunters and traders.