Brave New World is the latest in a sequence of reflections on the historiography of Britain between the two world wars and the directions future research might go in.
Matthew Brown and Gabriel Paquette’s Connections after Colonialism, as stated in the excellent introduction, aims to test the limitations of, as well as open new possibilities within, the Atlantic History and Age of Revolutions paradigms through highlighting the continued yet readjusted relationships between Europe and Latin America in the 1820s.
These engaging tomes, a two-volume collection of translations on pan-Asianism and a collection of articles in an edited volume on the same topic, offer a mint of scholarship on what has long been a troubling issue to decipher for students limited to the English language – namely, what is the deal with Pan-Asianism? What does it all mean, who talked about it, why and where?
With contemporary Japanese-Korean relations so inextricably entrenched within contentious politics of national identity and divergent expressions of historical consciousness, Jun Uchida’s Brokers of Empire could not be a more welcome addition to the field of modern East Asian history.
Over the course of a long and distinguished career Donna Merwick has produced one of the most sustained and compelling inquiries into the life and culture of a single colony in colonial American historiography. Her time and place is the 17th-century Dutch colony of New Netherland which she has considered in four books and numerous chapters and articles.
Ireland’s protracted struggle for freedom from British rule has long occupied an important place in American imaginations. Few historians, however, have treated America’s sympathy for Ireland as a matter of formal state-to-state diplomacy.
John Murray, fourth earl of Dunmore, the last royal governor of Virginia, features briefly in most accounts of the American Revolution. White slave-holders, in Dunmore’s colony and elsewhere, regarded him as a malign threat. George Washington, Virginia gentleman and planter, as well as commander of the Continental army, was among the many who denounced the governor as the devil incarnate.
The 20th century saw the triumph of the nation-state. It is hard to imagine it ever having passed by without Ireland, which Britain never succeeded in assimilating, joining the ranks of sovereign nations. But the manner in which she won self-determination was not preordained. Ireland fought the British crown under the banner not just of the nation, but of the republic.
Most canonical interpretations of the American Civil War revolve around some facet of the great national contest over the status and future of slavery in the western territories.
It would be all too easy to cast aside Camilla Schofield’s book, Enoch Powell and the Making of Postcolonial Britain, with an assumption that there is little new to say on the subject.