The Philosophy, Politics and Religion of British Democracy: Maurice Cowling and Conservatism / eds. Robert Crowcroft, S. J. D. Green, Richard Whiting
Poker was Maurice Cowling’s game. Late-night gambling amidst the smoke and whisky fumes probably appealed to him as one of the many means by which he rebelled against the respectability of the South London petit bourgeoisie in which he had been raised; Peter Ghosh once referred to the ‘Chandleresque’ style that he affected.
The first thing that stands out from this study is how passionate and volcanic was E. P. Thompson’s intellectual life as a historian, Marxist thinker, and informed campaigner. He was devoted to reason. Indeed, one of the left-wing journals with which he was involved was entitled The New Reasoner.
Addressing the Joint Session of Congress in 2003, Tony Blair issued a stirring defence of the democratic idea. Words like ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’, he declared, were not ‘American values or Western values’:
Varieties of Seventeenth- and Early Eighteenth-Century English Radicalism in Context / Ariel Hessayon, David Finnegan
The scholarship on the intellectual, religious and political history of early modern England presents a large use of terms such as ‘orthodox’, ‘deist’, ‘atheist’, ‘radical’, and their respective ‘isms’.
For those historians who have studied the English Reformation or the writing of polemics, histories and plays in the 16th century the name John Bale (1495–1563) appears high on the list of English scholars supporting a reformist agenda. Bale popularised the genre of martyrology for an English audience, later taken to its logical conclusion in John Foxe’s Book of Martyrs.
Histories of British socialism are nothing new, with classic studies in the field going back to G. D. H. Cole.(1) Mark Bevir’s new book, however, comes from a slightly different perspective, in that it focuses on the ‘making’ of British socialism in, broadly, the final quarter of the 19th century.
Out of what materials was ‘Oliver Cromwell’ shaped? (1) To what extent was he self-consciously shaping and reshaping himself? Did he record those self-constructing manoeuvres with some insight and effect? Certainly his spiritual odyssey is documented although not as thoroughly as we would wish.
From the late 1960s, the methods and claims of ‘conceptual history’ – although perhaps not Begriffsgeschichte – have fruitfully informed the scholarship of historians working on early-modern British and ‘Anglo-world’ political thought .
A Critical Woman: Barbara Wootton, Social Science and Public Policy in the Twentieth Century / Ann Oakley
Eslanda Goode Robeson has lived under the shadow of her superstar singer, actor, and political pioneer husband, Paul Robeson for decades. However, Eslanda, known as Essie, was a dedicated activist intellectual, prolific writer, powerful orator, and world traveller.