Britain in Revolution is a huge book in every sense, the distillation of a lifetime’s-worth of teaching, researching and writing, resulting in a large, sweeping narrative account of a very high standard.
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.
The arrival of this new synthesis provides an occasion for Elizabethan military historians to reflect how far this field has come in the past twenty years, as has the whole field of early modern military history.
The book I have before me feels rather expensive, well-made, a hardback with a striking dust jacket bearing an enlarged portion of an historic print. Inside, the paper is silky smooth, the ink dark and clean, the layout elegant with generous outer margins. The illustrations too are clean and clear, dropped into the text.
Margaret Pelling, author ofThe Common Lot: Sickness, Medical Occupations and the Urban Poor in Early Modern England (London: Longman, 1998) and currently Reader in the Social History of Medicine at the University of Oxford, has produced a new volume in the Oxford Studies in Social History series, Medical Conflicts in Early Modern London.
For a very long time, writers have sneered at the suburbs. They have looked down on suburbanites for being materialistic, unimaginative, and boring. They have complained about the social and physical monotony of the suburban scene while deploring its individualism and lack of community.
The 1990s in Ireland witnessed intense popular and academic interest in the events of two centuries before, culminating with the bicentennial commemorations of the United Irish Rebellion of 1798.
Elizabeth Freke has the distinction among my autobiographical acquaintance of being the memoirist I would least like to meet. This is not because she was toothless, lame, blind and probably bald and, as she said in 1711, 'a diseased criple with a rhumatisme and tisick confined to a chair for this eighteen months past' (p.158).
Professor Coss has written a splendid analysis of the changing aristocracy of the two hundred years after 1150 that will be required reading for the next century or so. What he has also attempted is even more bold and original, nothing more nor less than to explain the evolution of the English gentry.
‘It is time to effect a revolution in female manners’ declared the Vindication of the Rights of Woman in 1792 ‘– time to restore to them their lost dignity – and make them, as a part of the human species, labour by reforming themselves to reform the world’.(1) Mary Wollstonecraft’s legacy, which had such important ramifications for the wa