The editors of this very useful collection of essays boldly state that it is their thesis that 'early modern botany both facilitated and profited from colonisation and long distance trade and that the development of botany and Europe's commercial and territorial expansion are closely associated developments' (p. 3).
That the history of sexuality has come of age is clear. The most recent Journal of the History of Sexuality is a self-reflexive special issue on 'Theory, Methods, Praxis'.
Orne Westad, Professor of International History and Director of the Cold War Studies Centre at the London School of Economics, has hitherto been best known for his works on China and the Cold War, including Cold War and Revolution: Soviet-American Rivalry and the Origins of the Chinese Civil War, 1944–6 (New York, 1993) and Decisive Encounters:
In The Cold War: A History in Documents and Eyewitness Accounts, Jussi M. Hanhimäki and Odd Arne Westad present an impressive array of primary materials designed to examine the Cold War as a 'global conflict' (p. ix).
This is a short book on what turns out to be a rather bigger subject than might have been expected from the title; not because the Dutch slave trade was so important, but because Emmer uses it as an entry to a wide range of issues concerning the Atlantic slave trade in general and its historiography.
In From World War to Cold War: Churchill, Roosevelt, and the International History of the 1940s, David Reynolds seeks to bring a sense of contingency to existing considerations of the 1940s, ‘the most dramatic and decisive decade of the twentieth century’ (p. 1). As Reynolds reminds us, neither World War II nor the Cold War was inevitable.
To say that the lives of prominent political leaders are symbolic of the political culture of their time is, of course, a truism. Nelson Mandela is one of the handful of 20th-century leaders for whom this statement holds true in global terms, illustrated by the recent unveiling of his statue in London's Parliament Square.
Tony Hopkins, whose magnum opus, co-authored with Peter Cain, occupies the commanding heights for the interpretation of British Imperialism 1688-2000, has become evangelical for the reform of curricula in higher education to encourage historians and their students to engage seriously with globalisation - the leitmotif of our times.
This is a stimulating and engaging study that ticks a great many (postcolonial scholars’) ‘boxes’.
In the year of the XXIX Olympiad in Beijing it is perhaps timely for us to revisit the philosophy which inspired Pierre de Coubertin to develop the Olympic Movement, and its more familiar expression through the modern Olympic Games. Muscular Christianity, the theme of John J. MacAloon's edited volume (2007), is just that ethos.