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At least until recently, the explosion in study of the history of mental illness has not been mirrored in comparable studies of the history of developmental disability. In the last few years, that has begun to change, with the publications of major works by Mathew Thomson,(1) David Wright,(2) and this work by Mark Jackson.
In spite of its intellectual, literary and comic brilliance, this book contains a dark and disturbing, but revealing, message. In some ways, my melancholy reading of Bodies Politic has inevitably been shaped by Roy's recent untimely death. Roy Porter was without doubt the finest social historian of medicine this country, or indeed the world, has produced.
Several decades ago, during my teenage years in the 1970s, I attended a grammar school near Reigate in Surrey. Every weekday morning for seven years, I would take an early train from Horley to Redhill, before walking or catching a bus from there to the school.
Matthew Hilton has produced an extremely well written account of smoking in popular culture. It is crafted skilfully in an attractive prose style that fully reflects the call of the editor of the Studies in Popular Culture series for readable and accessible academic writing. In his debut monograph Hilton has established himself as an historian of real ability and great promise.
Much of the very best synoptic writing on the medieval medicine of any country has, in recent decades, been elicited by the English evidence. The tradition goes back to C. H. Talbot's Medicine in Medieval England of 1967.
The social history of madness is a vibrant area of intellectual enquiry which in the past 20 years has generated an impressive series of monographs and essay collections. This volume is a scholarly addition to the literature.
This is a timely collection of essays that sets out to address a key relationship in early modern historiography.
Given the efflorescence in the history of psychiatry over the course of the last quarter century, it is surprising that so few of the new generation of psychiatric historians have ventured into biography.
The study of the Black Death has undergone something of a renaissance in recent years. A flurry of articles (including J. Hatcher, 'England in the aftermath of the Black Death', Past and Present 144 (1994)), a selection of sources (R. Horrox, The Black Death (1994)) and two syntheses (this one and M. Ormrod and P.