Katie Stevenson, in her Chivalry and Knighthood in Scotland, 1424–1513, presents a thorough, scholarly, and informative research monograph. The years 1424 to 1513 carry one from the return to his kingdom of James I, after the long detention in England following his capture as a boy of twelve in 1406, to the death of James IV at Flodden.
Although this book is not very long (109 pages, not counting appendices and index), it might be characterized in multiple ways. First, it is important, making a valuable addition to the literature on medieval prisons. Interestingly, medieval prisons have not attracted a great deal of scholarly attention.
A History of Nigeria is an impressive book, the more so because its ambitions initially appear straightforward. Toyin Falola and Matthew Heaton describe their project as ‘a general background survey of the broad themes of Nigeria’s history from the beginnings of human habitation … to the early twenty-first century’ (p.
The Blackwell Companions to British History enjoy a reputation for quality of scholarship, clarity of text and range.
This important and stimulating study of the rural credit market in later medieval England, which originated as a Cambridge PhD thesis, is a carefully and thematically structured book with six chapters, each containing between four and six subchapters in addition to the conclusion and two extensive and useful appendices.
We have never been less interested in the details of history than we are today, and we have never been more committed to a weak and often reductive view of a romanticized past.
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.
It is a bold historian who, in the 21st century, still advertises, even as subtitle, a history of ‘Germanic Europe’ in the late Middle Ages. Evidently alarm bells were sounding in the author’s own ears, as he uses his first page (p. viii) to insist that ‘this book does not revive discredited racist notions based upon a supposedly pristine Germanic antiquity’. And nor does it.
In 1994 I published a now widely cited and highly regarded volume entitled Immigration, Ethnicity and Racism in Britain, 1815–1914 (1), which, at the time, faced critical comment.
The cover to the hardback edition of Edward Vallance’s A Radical History of Britain shows a Union Jack superimposed on a montage (King John signing the Magna Carta, the German Peasants’ War of 1525 (1), the Women’s Suffrage Movement, the Jarrow Crusade and the Battle of Cable Street) designed to illustrate the book’s subtitle: Visionaries, Rebels and Revol