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In his new book Steven Pinker, psychologist at Harvard University, sets out to fundamentally alter our understanding of the trajectory of violence from pre-historic times to the present. He takes issue with the widely held perception that the most recent past, the 20th century, was an age of large-scale bloodshed and genocidal slaughter.
In the wake of the 1909 centenary celebrations of his birth the New York Times detected a changing mood that made it ‘probable’ that Charles Darwin’s ‘fame’ had ‘reached its acme’. Three years after his bicentennial – ‘history’s biggest birthday party’ as Steven Shapin described it – no one is making similar predictions of an imminent decline of interest in Darwin.
Hugh Chignell’s well-researched volume tells the story of the development of current affairs programming on British radio, which, we learn, is inextricably tied to the ‘painfully slow development of news’ programming on the BBC. To explain the significance of the separation and elaboration of these two forms of broadcasting, Chignell begins with the Victorian ‘rigid class hierarchies’(p.
And whenever we abuse that reason, and act beneath the character and dignity of a rational creature, we lose the divine image in that respect; we have nothing to denominate us men but outward shape; or, in other words, we become brutes in the shapes of men.(1)
Richard White is a prolific historian whose earlier works have changed our understanding of several periods of American history. His 1991 book on the relations of white empires and Native polities in the Great Lakes region reshaped views of First Nations history throughout the continent.
Intelligence is a peculiar idea. Most human beings have some sense of the meaning of the word, yet they are all too often left with insipid definitions when they assign meaning to it. Some definers have been reduced to acknowledging that intelligence is what the intelligence tester is testing. Others have claimed that intelligence is merely the absence of lack-of-intelligence.
David Edgerton has written what could prove to be one of the most influential books on the history of the Second World War. In a majestic study, Edgerton has successfully shown us that we still have a lot to learn about the conflict.
In 1990 Susan Gross Solomon and John F. Hutchinson published Health and Society in Revolutionary Russia(1), an edited volume that has served as a touchstone for scholars of medicine, gender, revolution, culture, professionalization, economics, and state power. Frances L.
David Wootton discloses to the reader on page 182 that his aim is to provide an intellectual biography of Galileo Galilei. But this book does not. Wootton's aim is rather to re-enter, re-open or even unhinge the structures of all arguments about the so-called Galileo affair that have been written until now.
The concept of contagion is entangled with so many themes in the history of medicine that any on-line collection on the subject can hardly fail to generate interest among the scholarly community. Harvard University’s Contagion: Historical Views of Disease and Epidemics does not disappoint.