The relationship between slavery, colonialism, capital accumulation and economic development has long been an issue that has exercised political economists and economic historians, though it is perhaps fair to say that it tends to be neglected in standard university courses for undergraduates.
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.
Two very starkly contrasting approaches to the history of the sixteenth century lie behind three of the books reviewed here: Mark Nicholls' Two Kingdoms, Glenn Richardson's Renaissance Monarchy: the Reigns of Henry VIII, Francis I and Charles V, and the Patrick Collinson-edited volume The Sixteenth Century, 1485-1603.
In a famous essay on the tenacity of the Burckhardtian conception of the Renaissance, Johan Huizinga wrote that '[A]t the sound of the word ‘Renaissance’ the dreamer of past beauty sees purple and gold.' After reading Carole Collier Frick’s engrossing, multi-layered book, Huizinga’s romantic dreamers will have to become far more nuanced in their visual imaginings of the past.
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.
Luxury in the Eighteenth Century is a welcome collection of essays on a very important topic.
The study of masculinity as a specific topic (rather than an implicit element) is not utterly new: work in sociology in the 1980s, cultural studies in the 1990s, and concerns of feminist criticism from much earlier have laid the foundations for studying how men set about being men. Historians have also engaged with the topic, most notably in work on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.