'It is not necessary to be dull to write about history', Ged Martin remarks (p. 8). One suspects that many historians would add, 'but it helps'. This book is a wonderful antidote to that excessive seriousness. The style is crisp, paradox and aphorism abound – 'historians love paradoxes', Martin says (p.
International historians have been waiting a long time for this book. Their anticipation of the volume is testimony to the esteem with which Zara Steiner’s contribution to the field is held.
That the history of sexuality has come of age is clear. The most recent Journal of the History of Sexuality is a self-reflexive special issue on 'Theory, Methods, Praxis'.
Orne Westad, Professor of International History and Director of the Cold War Studies Centre at the London School of Economics, has hitherto been best known for his works on China and the Cold War, including Cold War and Revolution: Soviet-American Rivalry and the Origins of the Chinese Civil War, 1944–6 (New York, 1993) and Decisive Encounters:
In The Cold War: A History in Documents and Eyewitness Accounts, Jussi M. Hanhimäki and Odd Arne Westad present an impressive array of primary materials designed to examine the Cold War as a 'global conflict' (p. ix).
In From World War to Cold War: Churchill, Roosevelt, and the International History of the 1940s, David Reynolds seeks to bring a sense of contingency to existing considerations of the 1940s, ‘the most dramatic and decisive decade of the twentieth century’ (p. 1). As Reynolds reminds us, neither World War II nor the Cold War was inevitable.
To say that the lives of prominent political leaders are symbolic of the political culture of their time is, of course, a truism. Nelson Mandela is one of the handful of 20th-century leaders for whom this statement holds true in global terms, illustrated by the recent unveiling of his statue in London's Parliament Square.
Tony Hopkins, whose magnum opus, co-authored with Peter Cain, occupies the commanding heights for the interpretation of British Imperialism 1688-2000, has become evangelical for the reform of curricula in higher education to encourage historians and their students to engage seriously with globalisation - the leitmotif of our times.
In the year of the XXIX Olympiad in Beijing it is perhaps timely for us to revisit the philosophy which inspired Pierre de Coubertin to develop the Olympic Movement, and its more familiar expression through the modern Olympic Games. Muscular Christianity, the theme of John J. MacAloon's edited volume (2007), is just that ethos.
The book spans a long history from the early inception of sport for wheelchair users in the 1940s and progresses to the Sydney Paralympics.