Some historians only write big books and Keith Wrightson is among them, but he does so repeatedly, and in two sorts: pathbreaking, detailed, empirical local studies on the one hand, and magisterial, interpretative overviews on the other.
[References which begin with a Roman numeral are to the volume number and then page in the Writings and Speeches of Edmund Burke. Other numerals are to end notes]
In early twelfth-century Durham the body of St Cuthbert of Lindisfarne was still enshrined in its seventh-century coffin with its iconic images of the Virgin and Child, saints and archangels. Associated with the shrine were two magnificent manuscripts from early eighth-century Northumbria, the Lindisfarne and Stonyhurst Gospels.
Jonathan Scott's major reinterpretation of the seventeenth century, the most turbulent period in English political history, is timely. It coincides with the ongoing debate over Britain's place in Europe, the current experiment in devolution and the recent discussion of the monarchy's relevance.
When the Cold War ended it brought to a close the latest in a series of major challenges to western maritime supremacy. This, no doubt temporary, respite has forced the navies of the western world to focus on their role in a new environment in which high intensity war at sea is improbable in the immediate future.
Labour's First Century is a good barometer of the state of intellectual Thinking within and about Labour as it looks forward to its second century. Its tone differs from that of the fiftieth anniversary histories.
It has been fashionable to downplay the importance of battles in medieval military history. 'Most campaigns did not end in battle largely because both commanders were reluctant to risk battle', was John Gillingham's verdict. He pointed out that Henry II never fought a battle, yet had a great military reputation.
Two anti-Trinitarians shared the distinction in 1612 of being the last persons to be burned for heresy in England. The execution of Oliver Plunkett in 1681 was the last martyrdom of a Catholic on English soil. A Scottish student hanged for blasphemy in 1697 was the last person in the British Isles to be executed for his religious views.
Even the most self-pitying modern man, besieged on all sides by the forces emasculation and objectification (at least if he believes our Sunday newspapers), must think themselves lucky not to be forced to practise the difficult art of eighteenth-century manliness.
Nineteenth-century English nationalism has been a neglected area of research, as Gerald Newman pointed out in his seminal study,The Rise of English Nationalism: A Cultural History, 1740-1830 (1987).