In Ocean Under Steam Frances Steel explores the impact of the 19th-century sea transport revolution in one of the extremities of the British Empire, the South Pacific Ocean. Published as part of the Manchester University Press ‘Studies in Imperialism’ series, under the general editorship of John MacKenzie, this is a self-consciously ‘de-centred’ imperial history.
The subject of sati – more commonly known to Anglophone readers as ‘suttee’, a term which was used by 18th- and 19th-century writers to signify the self-immolation of Hindu widows on the funeral pyres of their husbands (1) – has long been of interest to historians.
The Second World War has long been the subject of a rich vein of academic writing, and popular interest in the conflict, ever-growing as significant anniversaries are reached, ensures that the war remains a constant in the British public’s consciousness. The effects of the war on the home front have been of especial interest, particularly in popular imaginings of the conflict.
Britain’s role in the refugee crisis created by the rise of fascism has been examined from many angles, and not always critically. Early works did little more than extol British humanitarianism and celebrate refugee successes.
Hugh Chignell’s well-researched volume tells the story of the development of current affairs programming on British radio, which, we learn, is inextricably tied to the ‘painfully slow development of news’ programming on the BBC. To explain the significance of the separation and elaboration of these two forms of broadcasting, Chignell begins with the Victorian ‘rigid class hierarchies’(p.
‘He was one of the best National Socialists, one of the strongest defenders of the German Reich, one of the greatest opponents of all enemies of the Empire.
This is a book about discourses – the conflicting ideological positions from which the idea of a region and culture in transition was formed and fragmented – not about how the Highlands were made ‘on the ground’. It is not a materialist account in the sense of being an empirical economic and social history.
The history of Britain during the two inter-war decades could be characterised by reference to a process by which, while the nation still clung to many of its pre-1914 imperial certainties (which in many ways still defined British identity), society was exposed to, and ‘Britishness’ to a degree undermined by, the forces of Americanisation.
‘I wish I knew a history was a history,’ remarks Gertrude Stein in A Geographical History of America.
This impressive book brings together two strands of media history to create a new narrative, attempting to explain how and why newspaper journalism in Britain and the United States was transformed between the 1830s and the first decades of the 20th century, establishing the popular style of journalism we know today.