Research on the history of venereal diseases (VD), syphilis, gonorrhoea, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs in more recent parlance), has flourished in recent years. Both the editors of the current volume have recently published books on the topic, Davidson on VD policy and practice in Scotland, Hall a more general synthetic work.
History on this scale is a daunting task, not just for the breadth of scholarship it requires but also because it lays before the author the powerful temptations of platitude and over-generalization. Geoffrey Hosking, as he has amply shown elsewhere, is a historian who can draw a big picture without losing his curiosity, his feel for detail, or his capacity for concise but penetrating summary.
This volume is a collection of seven essays on Latin America by James Dunkerley, all written and published separately between 1992 and 1999. The most immediate question posed, given the wide and varied range in topic covered and in approach (no two essays being alike), is both how the essays work individually and, more pertinently, how coherently they hang together.
In his foreword Tony Blair suggests that this book 'offers an overview of the important themes in the WEA's history and relates the past to the present and future of the association.' This is indeed true. The book acknowledges the association's successes, but is critical of its failures; its tone is at times joyful and at others poignant.
The present slim volume arose from seminars held at Oxford, where visiting German academics presented the original papers. The aim of the series in which Eduard Mühle’s book appears is to present the results of recent research by German historians, on the assumption that otherwise they would be inaccessible to many English readers.
Götz Aly’s and Susanne Heim’s Architects of Annihilation is a translation of the authors’ Vordenker der Vernichtung. Auschwitz und die deutschen Pläne für eine neue europäische Ordnung (Hamburg: Hoffmann und Campe), first published in 1991. The alteration to the title may be designed to emphasise the authors’ argument that there was a rational purpose behind the Holocaust.
The tenacity of the Women’s Voluntary Services (WVS: they were awarded ‘Royal’ status in 1966) in maintaining their unique position in the voluntary sector must, in no small degree, be due to the powerful personality of its founder, the redoubtable Stella Charnaud, Lady Reading.
There are several novel things about this book that make it worth reading. The first one relates to the author. Unlike most other historians of Japan, who come from the areas of Japanese or East Asian studies, the author of this book arrives from an unexpected field. L. M.
Dr Quine's study of the Italian welfare state between the Liberal and Fascist eras is an impressively researched, well-written and original contribution to an under-researched field. Even in Italian there are few global accounts of early Italian welfare state.
This book is about four episodes of excess mortality in Russia/the USSR: 1914-22, 1931-38, 1941-45, and the 1990s. The book is aimed at the general reader, although it may be of most use to older schoolchildren and students on many courses.