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 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).
Medieval and early modern literature is full of magic. Invisibility rings, magicians, damsels with healing potions, love potions and many more characters and devices add colour and glamour to the stories, as well as moving the plots in interesting directions. There are also a growing number of recent studies that focus explicitly on the role of magic in these literary works.
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.
Two books on druids in two years, and by the same author! If I were either of Ronald Hutton’s publishers I’d be biting my nails over this, but let me reassure them both right at the start that Hutton pulls it off, and in style. The two really do complement each other. So what does Blood and Mistletoe have that The Druids: A History (1) does not?
'From the Sea of Perpetual Gloom to the Holiday Cruise'
The ‘holy grail’ for academic local historians over the past 50 or so years has been the search for regions, a search conducted partly out of genuine interest, partly as a parallel to regional geography, and partly from motives of self-preservation resulting from fears that ‘local history’ conveyed the impression of being parochial and antiquarian. W. G.
The Pacific forms part of the series ‘Seas in History’ edited by the late Geoffrey Scammell. Already published are the volumes about the Atlantic, the Baltic and North Seas and the Indian Ocean. The historiography of seas and oceans has an illustrious tradition (Fernand Braudel, Kirti Chaudhuri, O. H. K. Spate, J. H.
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.