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Democracy was under siege during the 1970s. Terrorism, civil disobedience, and political instability were widespread, even in Western Europe. Elsewhere, dictatorships held sway and military intervention was a regular occurrence in many regions. A democratically elected left wing government was overthrown in Chile in 1973, with the active support of the United States.
How did the world of nation-states come about? What happened to the world of empires that preceded it? How did the transition take place and how inevitable was it? These may seem (and indeed are) old questions.
Scholarly historians as a group are often criticized for writing books that speak only to other academics and that are not accessible to a general audience. This criticism is unfair, as many professional historians who have made significant interventions in our understanding of history have also written books that bring history alive for the average reader. W.
In Automobility and the City in Twentieth-Century Britain and Japan, Simon Gunn and Susan Townsend have written the equivalent of three books.
A lack of institutional documentation has rendered it difficult for scholars of early modernity to reconstruct the significance of apostasy from Judaism before the Council of Trent (1545-1563). As such, the reasons behind the conversion of Jews to Catholicism, especially in Renaissance Italy, remain understudied to this day.
The English Uprising: Peterloo opens with the words ‘Two hundred years on, it is still possible to be angry about Peterloo’ … this was not ‘a clumsy exercise in crowd control’ when ill-disciplined troops panicked, but ‘an atrocity which requires explanation’ (p. 1).
The Cato Street Conspiracy: Plotting, counter-intelligence and the revolutionary tradition in Britain and Ireland / eds. Jason McElligott, Martin Conboy
Last year saw the spectacular bicentenary commemorations of the 1819 ‘Peterloo massacre’ in Manchester.(1) One sequel to Peterloo was an attempt to assassinate the cabinet at dinner in Grosvenor Square: the Cato Street conspiracy of February 1820. The plot was hatched by a small group of London ultra-radicals, followers of the ideas of Thomas Spence.
Throughout his lengthy career as a leading historian of 18th-century Britain, Peter Marshall has written extensively on, to quote the title of one of his many books, ‘the making and unmaking of empires,’ and he spent more than a decade editing the correspondence of Edmund Burke.(1) But, as he admits on this monograph’s opening page, ‘the West Indies only feature in a p
That Most Precious Merchandise: The Mediterranean Trade in Black Sea Slaves, 1260-1500 / Hannah Barker
Hannah Barker’s book is a thorough and engaging evaluation of late medieval slave trading practices in the Mediterranean. The tile is taken from the 15th-century recollection and denunciation of an Alexandrian slave market by Felix Fabri, a German friar (p. 209).
This volume arrives with high praise. The book ‘[d]eserves to become another classic’, opines Peter Burke at the top of the front cover. It ‘[c]ompletely overhauls our view’, observes Ronald Hutton somewhat further down. The work itself is not shy of ambition either. Both the title—The Decline of Magic—and the subtitle—Britain in the Enlightenment—promise sweeping panoramas.