In the last two decades the history of modern British politics has been the subject of fierce debate as its long cherished narratives and explanatory models have been questioned from a variety of 'revisionist' perspectives.
In many ways Russia is the touchstone of the twentieth century. Most of the main features of our troubled age have impinged on it more heavily than any other single country.
Consider a counter-factual or two. Would this book have been different had its author not have been immersed in the history of banking over the last few years? Would it have looked different had the author not been an active member of the Conservative party in the Thatcher years?
Edwin Jones has produced a powerful, complex, eloquent and truly remarkable book. It is a heady blend of history and politics, past and present - committed scholarship in the best sense. It rests on the conviction that historical understanding matters.
At the Gladstone Centenary Conference, held at Chester in the summer of 1998, one speaker pointed out that at that point in time there were ten or eleven new biographies of 'WEG' under contract.
Japan's experience of defeat and occupation at the end of the Second World War has most commonly been examined from the point of view of the conquerors. It has rarely been tackled as a Japanese experience.
Nobody doubts the exceptional importance of the long reign of Louis IX (1226-70) as perceived either from modern historical perspectives, or presented in thirteenth-century (or later) views.
Historians of Soviet foreign policy and the Second World War will welcome the arrival of Garbriel Gorodetskys Grand Delusion: Stalin and the German Invasion of Russia, the first study of Soviet decision-making between the Nazi-Soviet pact and the outbreak of the German-Soviet war to be based upon thorough research in Soviet as well as western archives.
It is to the credit of the editors that there are no dud contributions in this volume of essays. They hang together well, considering how varied in quality and miscellaneous in content these arranged collections or published proceedings of conferences, often are.
This collection of ten essays and historiographical overview by the editor by way of introduction began life in the Folger Institute Center for the Study of British Political Thought, founded in 1983, and based in the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington D.C.