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The slipperiness of just what Stuart Banner is addressing in American Property is one of his key themes. Property has meant different things to different people in different times; ideas about it ‘have always been contested and have always been in flux’ (p. 3).
To write a general history of two neighbouring countries spanning 100 years is no easy task. Furthermore, in 1905 Norway became independent of Sweden, meaning that there was no natural linkage between the two, geography apart.
The first thing that stands out from this study is how passionate and volcanic was E. P. Thompson’s intellectual life as a historian, Marxist thinker, and informed campaigner. He was devoted to reason. Indeed, one of the left-wing journals with which he was involved was entitled The New Reasoner.
Environmental historians take pride in the interdisciplinary character of their field. Yet they practice this interdisciplinarity mostly by drawing from methodologies and approaches from several disciplines. Rarer, and definitively more challenging, are the attempts to establish an actual dialogue between disciplines.
The Japanese Consumer claims to be an alternative economic history of modern Japan. I don’t think it is. It is an account of the place of consumption in the everyday life of the Japanese population, drawn largely from a rich scholarship that has become available in English during the last two decades.
I was looking forward to reading this book very much, mainly because the study of the shipbuilding industry, on Tyneside in particular, has been a personal interest for ten years, providing the subject for a PhD thesis as well as other works.
The title of this volume is something of a misnomer or, at least, there is a crucial word missing from it.
In bringing his history of Britain almost to the present, Paul Addison is the latest to tackle the problem which Macaulay identified in 1841: English history, he wrote, ‘from 1688 to the French Revolution, is even to educated people almost a terra incognita’. For Walter Bagehot in 1876: ‘the events for which one generation cares most are often those of which the next knows least.
The second decade of the 21st century would seem to be an auspicious moment for historians of capitalism. The sudden and for many unexpected rise of China as a major economic power would appear to provide historians with opportunities to rethink the history of capitalism, especially with regard to the place of the state and the market in its development.
There is a long-standing tradition of joint-authored works that seek to understand the economics of British imperialism from the perspective of its underlying cultural assumptions and practices.