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Nearly one hundred years after the death of Queen Victoria, Victorian history is, on the face of it, in remarkably good shape. Alongside Hitler, the period remains the staple fare of the English and Welsh sixth-form syllabus. In the universities - old and new - British nineteenth-century historians outnumber their eighteenth-century counterparts by about two to one.
In the last two decades the history of modern British politics has been the subject of fierce debate as its long cherished narratives and explanatory models have been questioned from a variety of 'revisionist' perspectives.
There has, in recent years, been a proliferation of work on popular culture in early modern England. Barry Reay’s Popular Cultures in England 1550-1750 (London and New York: Longman 1998. Pp. ix + 235) is a perceptive and engaging synthesis, rooted in a thorough knowledge of recent work.
Diana Spencer has a lot to answer for: suddenly, women of the landowning classes are back in vogue, possibly for the first time since the 1920s, when everyone from Virginia Woolf to Ramsay MacDonald seemed to love a lady. In academic circles, where Diana carries comparatively little weight, a more plausible trend-setter might be Stella Tillyard's Aristocrats (1994).
James M. Rosenheim is the author of The Townshends of Raynham (1989) and a number of other studies of landownership and county government, with particular reference to the county of Norfolk. In this new book he draws on a wide variety of printed primary and secondary sources in the hundred years after 1650.
Amanda Vickery's new book is largely based on several rich collections of women's letters and diaries, most notably those of Elizabeth Parker Shackleton, whose family belonged to the lesser gentry and mercantile elite of Lancashire in the eighteenth century.
This is a very welcome paperback edition of Euan Green’s monograph originally published in 1995. The enviable task confronting the author is to write a further book of a similar quality; expectations are certain to be high for The Crisis of Conservatism is not simply an outstanding account but to use an overworked word, a seminal book.
No history of class or industrialisation is taught now without the demography of the household, the value of domestic labour, the items of working class consumption, the texture of sexual difference.
A coherent narrative political history of early-modern Europe could be constructed around disputes over the right of succession to sovereign thrones. The very nomenclature of the history of armed conflict during this period underscores the importance of succession in a society in which the family stood at the centre of power-holding.
'Geography is about maps, History about chaps': a tired cliché, of course, though it tells us something about the ways in which disciplinary boundaries were constructed during the relatively recent past. Few historians today would make such a facile claim, if only because of the absurdity of the notion that only 'chaps' make history.