In recent decades, the fields of women's and gender studies have rapidly expanded. In trying to understand women's roles in past societies, historians have paid particular attention to issues surrounding marriage, family, and the household.
In 1990 Robert Gellately completed a major study which investigated the role of the secret police in Nazi Germany. His book, The Gestapo and German Society: Enforcing Racial Policy 1933-1945 (Oxford University Press; Oxford, 1995) demonstrated conclusively that the much feared and allegedly omnipresent Gestapo in fact relied on widespread public support to function effectively.
The literature on the role of the French as ‘other’ in the formation of a British national identity in the eighteenth century is probably not as rich as many readers might think.(1) Indeed, the literature on French Anglophobia seems a little more sustained.(2) Semmel’s work, which looks at the impact of Napoleon on British politi
The First World War is Russia’s ‘forgotten war’. After the Bolshevik seizure of power in October 1917, the memory of the war was subsumed into the history of the revolutionary process.
For many years, just two simple narratives dominated the history of the Soviet Union. The first story was the regime's account of itself. In this account, socialism had been established from 1917 onwards. The decisiveness of the Bolshevik Party in arguing for the October Revolution had created the possibility of the Communist system.
Since the thirtieth anniversary in 1998, the May 1968 events have – with the striking exception of Kristin Ross's 2002 May '68 and its Afterlives – tended to be on the back burner, so that Michael Seidman's exhaustively documented account may well revive what has been virtually from the beginning a rich source for publication and analysis.
Consider two of the most intriguing facts contained in this book: while around one in six East Germans disliked their country so much that they left it permanently, one in five adults were prepared to become a member of its ruling party, the SED (Socialist Unity Party). The first fact will come as a surprise to nobody.
When I was an undergraduate at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in the early 1980s, the School had a motto: knowledge is power. Students of a radical inclination would denounce this explicit evocation of the School's imperial origins, and evidently the criticism took its toll.
On the opening page of her new book Privacy and Solitude in the Middle Ages, Diana Webb identifies its driving interests: first, 'in what medieval people regarded as reason or justification for retreating, permanently or temporarily, from the wider society, and secondly in their awareness of their dwelling spaces'.
Early-modern Europe (here covering the years from 1492 to 1750) was constantly beset by plagues of all kinds. Scarcely a year passed in western Europe until the 1720s without an outbreak of ‘pestilence’, and scarcely a decade without a major epidemic that killed ten, twenty, or even forty per cent of the community. Expansion brought with it new dangers.