Four Nations Approaches, as the editors acknowledge from the start, follows in the footsteps of a very solid tradition of edited collections, brought about by the rise of ‘New British History’ in the 1990s and early 2000s.
Britain has never been a meritocracy. Despite the concept’s widely-evoked vision of a ‘fair’ or ‘just’ social order, one where individuals rise or fall according to their ‘talents’ or ‘efforts’, the rise of the meritocracy has continually been scuppered by the perseverance of inherited privilege or democratic pressure.
In the spring of 1968, Enoch Powell gave his infamous ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech (p 1). In the shadow of Enoch Powell: Race, locality and resistance explores its aftermath, successfully synthesising histories of Powell as a political figure, the local community of Wolverhampton, and, to a lesser extent, the nation.
This is Karin Bowie’s second book about the history of public opinion in Scotland. Her first, in 2007, examined the period 1699-1707 in depth, covering the debate leading up to the Union of Parliaments.(1) The present book deals with a longer period, and has no single focus like the Union.
Early modern Scotland was awash with cheap print. Adam Fox, in the first dedicated study of the phenomenon in Scotland, gives readers some startling figures. Andro Hart, one of Edinburgh’s leading booksellers, died in 1622. In his possession, according to his inventory, were 42,300 unbound copies of English books printed on his own presses.
Bryce Evans has written an iconoclastic study of Seán Lemass (1900-71), who is often considered to be one of the most influential politicians in independent Ireland. Lemass fought in the 1916 Rising, participated in the War of Independence and Civil War (1918–23) and was a founder member of Fianna Fáil in 1926, which remained the largest political party from 1932 until 2011.
According to a survey carried out by the National Federation of Fish Fryers in the 1960s, the first fish and chip shop was opened by Joseph Malins in 1860 on Old Ford Road in the East End of London (p. 234). The combination of the fried fish that had been sold and eaten in the Jewish East End since the early nineteenth century with chips created what became a quintessentially British meal.
Writing in Macmillan’s Magazine a few years after the denouement of the Crimean War, Thomas Hughes, author of Tom Brown’s School Days, declared that this conflict’s ‘drama ...
This magnum opus of 842 pages, plus notes, takes the reader from 1895, and the politics of Unionism, to the onset of the First World War. It deals with every subject a reader interested to understand modern Britain might want to know, from domestic questions like the rise of the Labour Party to imperial issues like Britain’s complex relationship with Japan.
It is hard to review this book without lapsing into the language of academic letters of recommendation: it is brilliant, illuminating. The genre is the Anglo-American 'book of the thesis’. This genre contrasts with that of first books from young German and French scholars in that the author has taken years to revise his 2015 Harvard thesis thoroughly.