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The request to review Professor James Vernon’s book brings to mind John Betjeman’s verses in the style of George R. Sims:
Once upon a time there was smallpox. One of the most loathsome diseases ever to afflict human kind, smallpox not only killed but maimed. Death rates were typically between 25 and 30 per cent, and survivors might not only be blinded and their skins scarred and pitted from the pocks, but they also suffered internal tissue damage that affected lung function and other life processes.
This collection of 12 essays originated in a number of conference papers addressing the theme 'History from Below: the Urban Poor and the Reception of Medicine and Charity in Western European Cities'. The essays in the book examine the consumption of health and welfare in Britain, or more accurately, in England, with the main chronological focus being on the 19th and 20th centuries.
Over the past 40 years sport has gained credibility as a field of academic study. This is evident in the expansion of participant and spectator sport worldwide, supported by an ever-increasing range of sport related programmes offered at colleges and universities and ever-increasing research opportunities.
In the past decade Britain has finally relaxed the strict controls on the movement of dogs and cats across its borders. The most potent and compelling arguments used for the retention of quarantine regulations could be found in the pictures of rabid dogs posted at marinas and other embarkation points.
It would be easy, but facile, to dismiss emigration from Ireland to Argentina as a minor aberration in the history of both countries.
Since the 1960s, popular leisure has been studied by successive generations of British social historians. Questions of class, of culture and of identity have been central to the development of this literature. Celebrations of distinctively plebeian customs have contended with pessimistic analyses of mass culture as a form of social control.
This Fintan Lane and Donal Ó Drisceoil edited work is a welcome addition to the existing historiography. It concerns the Irish working class and politics over the course of a century. As the introduction points out, the attention of historians has not been directed towards Irish labour to the extent seen in other western European countries.
Angela McCarthy has written a useful book about Irish emigration to New Zealand, based upon 253 letters that passed between the two countries over a period just short of a century. This review discusses the author's methodology and findings through the perspective of two analytical tools, Alice's Letters and Shanacoole Exceptionalism.
Susan Barton's book lives up to its promise of providing a new and fuller analysis of the ways in which working-class people were able to enjoy holidays away from home, mainly in the 'age of the railway', but with reference also to the tramping artisan tradition that predated the railways, and to the ear