In 2001, Frederick Cooper wrote that ‘globalization talk is influential – and deeply misleading – for assuming coherence and direction instead of probing causes and processes’.(1) Burbank and Cooper heed this warning and focus very clearly and ably on the causes and processes of global empire building in this new book.
In 1842, the American popular magazine writer Eliza Leslie wrote a story entitled ‘The Rain King, or a Glance into the Next Century’, which was published in Godey’s Lady’s Book (p. 58). Looking forward to a fictional 1942, Leslie portrayed the so-called Rain King offering weather on demand to the residents of the Philadelphia area.
Histories of Labour: National and International Perspectives / eds. Joan Allen, Alan Campbell, John McIlroy
The title of this volume is something of a misnomer or, at least, there is a crucial word missing from it.
Those disinclined to judge their book by its cover will be pleased to discover that the image adorning the latest volume in the Oxford History of the British Empire (OHBE) series bears little relation to its contents. Showing the famous long bar at the Raffles Hotel in Singapore, it presents the imperial British in exemplary (if not stereotypical) terms.
The Britannic Vision – Historians and the Making of the British Commonwealth of Nations, 1907-48 / William David McIntyre
The opening words of the preface to McIntyre’s scholarly book are that it ‘looks at the role historians played in a forgotten act in one of the grand dramas of modern history’.
Here is a history of verve, valour and vignettes with broad and exciting perspectives that make it wonderfully unfashionable and provocatively readable with the constant eminence of its scholarship and style.
Why The West Rules – For Now: The Patterns of History and What they Reveal about the Future / Ian Morris
This book was launched with great fanfare, a high number of editorial reviews from prominent academics, interviews, invited talks, web commentaries, and reviews in the mainstream media, including the Guardian, New Statesman, New York Times, The Scotsman, Economist, and Foreign Affairs.
This edited companion in the multi-volume history survey series published by Wiley-Blackwell will become a set text for students of the Great War, at least when the less expensive paperback version appears in bookshops.
Chocolate, writes Emma Robertson in the introduction to her monograph, ‘has been invested with specific cultural meanings which are in part connected to … conditions of production’ (p. 3). At the heart of this study is a challenge to existing histories:
Environmental History: As if Nature Existed / eds. John R. McNeill, Mahesh Rangarajan, Jose Augusto Padua
Environmental historians take pride in the interdisciplinary character of their field. Yet they practice this interdisciplinarity mostly by drawing from methodologies and approaches from several disciplines. Rarer, and definitively more challenging, are the attempts to establish an actual dialogue between disciplines.