Reports of the death of the Mediterranean – on some accounts from pollution, on others from conceptual redundancy – have proved exaggerated. Conceptually, at least, ‘The Mediterranean’ flourishes as never before: an idea more than a sea. It seems ubiquitous on web sites and in book and journal titles as well as on conference posters, not to mention political action plans.
Texas is in the midst of an identity crisis. Some historians, such as Walter Buenger in Path to a Modern South, argue that Texas has a strong connection to the South. Others, like Glen Ely in his new book Where the West Begins, contend that Texas – especially West Texas – is closely linked to the American West.
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.
Danger, disaster and the loss of life are emblematic features of Britain’s cultural memory of coal mining. Netflix’s hit series, The Crown, prominently reinforced these motifs through its recent portrayal of the 1966 Aberfan disaster in South Wales.
The indefinite article in the subtitle of Pekka Hämäläinen’s new book tells, to those familiar with the author’s first monograph and its professional impact, its own story. Ethnohistorians writing Native North American history in the later 20th century cast Indigenous Americans as heroic underdogs in a long, bitter struggle against Euro-American colonialism.
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.
Cities of the Plain
Sometimes (not often enough) an academic book comes along that ticks all the boxes: it is based on thorough research, spanning archives on different continents, engaging with rich and varied source materials; it is held together by a tight set of themes; it is written in beautiful prose.