Fearghal McGarry’s much anticipated biography of general Eoin O’Duffy is an impressive piece of research, and its illuminating detail traces O’Duffy’s rise from minor local government official to ruthless guerrilla fighter.
Peter Dorey’s edited volume, The Labour Governments 1964–70 (2006), both in its methodological approach and chronological focus, is a timely addition to the historiography of the Labour Party.
A few years ago, I pestered friendly Lollard scholars with a question which tended to flummox them slightly: how did English bishops know how to prosecute heretics? The broadest outlines of a reply had been sketched, in an article from 1936 by H. G. Richardson and another by Margaret Aston in 1993. In addition, Anne Hudson and J. A. F.
Whilst the politics of the British radical right has produced a flourishing scholarship, there has been little systematic attempt to understand its development over the long term.
Duncan Bell’s book comes with an intriguing picture on its front cover: Gustave Doré’s famous 1860 depiction of a New Zealander perched on a broken arch of London Bridge sketching the ruins of St Paul’s and its environs. The image, derived from an essay by Thomas Babington Macaulay, captures much of the Victorian premonition and anxiety about empire.
Despite the enormous growth in research and writing on contemporary British history, postwar British history is, curiously, lacking a comprehensive textbook which lecturers can recommend to students with complete satisfaction.
In October 1283, Edward I stood in a unique position. He had achieved a goal which had eluded his predecessors back to the time of the Conquest: the subjection of Wales. His military campaigns to assert his overlordship had begun six years previously, but now his dominance was final. This in itself was unique, but the episode had a more significant aspect.
Once, radicals of the late 18th and early 19th century appeared as distinctly respectable. They were earnest, improving, and mindful of the public good, which was all of a piece with the sober Dissenting stock from which many of them sprang. There was, of course, a revolutionary fringe, but this was inhabited by the overwrought or the immature.
To historians, the intrinsic value of history is self-evident. However, the study of history as an intellectual activity extends beyond the careful reconstruction and critical analysis of the past. For the past seeps into the present: it shapes the identities, perceptions, and attitudes of individuals and institutions.
The 19th Century British Library Newspapers digital archive provides a full run of 48 British newspapers from the 19th century from 1800 to 1900.