Martin Johnes is an industrious historian of 20th–century Wales, and has published extensively on topics such as sport, national identity, the 1966 Aberfan disaster and the civic history of Cardiff.(1) Wales since 1939 is a fusion of several of these endeavours (and more), and one which has produced an integrated and fresh perspective on modern Wales.
It wasn’t so long ago that British labour historiography was dominated by more or less celebratory accounts of the career of the Labour Party. As its title suggests, though, Andrew Edwards’ book is a sure sign that the times have changed.
This substantial book does two jobs. It undertakes the first full textual study of Welsh genealogical literature in the Middle Ages, and it provides a new critical edition of the most important texts. In the second of these roles it replaces Peter Bartrum’s Early Welsh Genealogical Tracts (1966), the workhorse on which everyone relied till now.
In recent decades historians, postcolonial theorists and feminist scholars have demonstrated how, in a variety of geographical settings, gendered stereotypes supported the conquest and domination of overseas territories by European colonial regimes.
Four Nations Approaches, as the editors acknowledge from the start, follows in the footsteps of a very solid tradition of edited collections, brought about by the rise of ‘New British History’ in the 1990s and early 2000s.
Britain has never been a meritocracy. Despite the concept’s widely-evoked vision of a ‘fair’ or ‘just’ social order, one where individuals rise or fall according to their ‘talents’ or ‘efforts’, the rise of the meritocracy has continually been scuppered by the perseverance of inherited privilege or democratic pressure.
In the spring of 1968, Enoch Powell gave his infamous ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech (p 1). In the shadow of Enoch Powell: Race, locality and resistance explores its aftermath, successfully synthesising histories of Powell as a political figure, the local community of Wolverhampton, and, to a lesser extent, the nation.
This is Karin Bowie’s second book about the history of public opinion in Scotland. Her first, in 2007, examined the period 1699-1707 in depth, covering the debate leading up to the Union of Parliaments.(1) The present book deals with a longer period, and has no single focus like the Union.
Early modern Scotland was awash with cheap print. Adam Fox, in the first dedicated study of the phenomenon in Scotland, gives readers some startling figures. Andro Hart, one of Edinburgh’s leading booksellers, died in 1622. In his possession, according to his inventory, were 42,300 unbound copies of English books printed on his own presses.
Bryce Evans has written an iconoclastic study of Seán Lemass (1900-71), who is often considered to be one of the most influential politicians in independent Ireland. Lemass fought in the 1916 Rising, participated in the War of Independence and Civil War (1918–23) and was a founder member of Fianna Fáil in 1926, which remained the largest political party from 1932 until 2011.