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Chinese history for English readers is a quietly contested field: quiet because discussion and developments take place in the margins of the English-speaking world; and contested both because the market for trade books is growing and, more importantly, because new publications are offering ever more diverse and complex ways of seeing China. Two seminal events, the Opium War (1839-42) and the Cu
At the end of December 1756, Admiral John Byng was put on trial for breaching the Articles of War, instructions set out by the Royal Navy in 1749 to establish and regulate martial behaviour. Byng, who had commanded a fleet of ships during the Battle of Minorca in the late spring of 1756, was accused of failing to do his utmost during the combat.
Next year will mark the centenary of one of the most extreme and brutal displays of colonial power and violence, the so called Amritsar Massacre of 1919. The massacre took place in a public park called Jallianwala Bagh in the city of Amritsar where British Indian army’s Colonel Reginald Dyer on 13 April 1919 ordered his troops to fire on unarmed protestors gathered there.
One might be forgiven for thinking that British defence policy between the Napoleonic era and the outbreak of the First World War was always geared towards a large, continental commitment.
Christopher Magra believes that impressment played a vital role in the origins of the American Revolution. Sailors not only were the shock troops of the resistance movement in popular disturbances in the 1760s and 1770s.
The cover of Jan Rüger’s Heligoland shows a small, forbidding and desolate rock surrounded by inclement seas and with no sign of human habitation. This unwelcoming glimpse of land from afar – as so often the case with islands – will prove to be misleading. It gives no sense of the history on a grand scale that is to come.
The social history of the navy is a rapidly developing field and there is a recent trend for studies which seek to uncover the complex and varied personal experiences of officers and sailors, as well as to trace broader trends in cultural representation.
As Antoinette Burton points out in the introduction to her newest work, The Trouble with Empire: Challenges to Modern British Imperialism, there has been no shortage of blockbusters about the British Empire to be found on the shelves of local booksellers. Many of these take for granted the rise and fall narrative of Empire.
As Matthew McCormack makes clear right from the first line of this work, the militia was one of Georgian Britain’s most important institutions. The militia’s reform in 1757, whereby it became the New Militia, and subsequent mobilisation in the French wars of 1756–1815 were an essential component of the defence of Britain.
The literature surrounding British attitudes toward the American Civil War has a long history extending almost back to the conflict itself, in part because it speaks to a question that has long intrigued academic and popular readers alike; namely, how might the outcome of the conflict been different if the British government had extended diplomatic recognition to the Confederacy or even interve