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Over the past decade growing numbers of students have undertaken research into the religious dimension of the recent history of the British Isles, and in doing so have expanded its agenda away from the traditional focus on the history of doctrine and ecclesiastical institutions.
Simon Szreter's remarkable and very important book argues, in effect, that coincidence has deceived the historians of family sexuality in the period 1860 - 1960. The birth-rate per family in England and Wales declined ever more steeply in this hundred yea r period, and it declined with roughly the same timing and speed in most other European countries.
Ernest Gellner, who died on 5 November 1995, was one of the great polymaths of the century. Many of his twenty books were concerned with philosophy, sociology and anthropology. Yet at the core of his work was an historical question.
Edmund Dell has moved from his highly praised account of the early years of the Callaghan administration, which he observed and in which he participated as a government minister, to the last years of the Attlee administration.
This is a very puzzling book. To judge by its title and some of its contents, its subject is the attempt to create a world order on the basis of two competing principles, adumbrated respectively in the West and in Russia. Those two principles are summed up in the figures of Montesquieu and Marx, whose ideas on social order are briefly set out in the first two chapters.