Ian Gentles’ book (a welcome addition to the British History in Perspective Series edited by Jeremy Black) is the first new biography of Oliver Cromwell in many years. The book contains significant new research, and Professor Gentles presents us with a far more in-depth picture of the private and public life of Cromwell than have previous biographers.
Charles Carlton’s lively and readable book is an attempt to discern ‘how war … affected the history of early modern Britain’ (p. xx) between the battles of Bosworth (1485) and Culloden (1746).
This is a fascinating and absorbing account of Royalist conspiracy and spies throughout the Civil Wars and the Commonwealth and Protectorate. It highlights the increasing importance of underground Royalist activity as the Stuart monarchs failed to regain their kingdoms.
Two decades ago Francis Fukuyama gained widespread attention, and some notoriety, with the argument that the modern world had reached the end of history. Of course, he did not mean that history as a flow of events would cease. What he did mean was that history as successive stages of society had reached its final level. There is no future regime beyond modern democracy and capitalism.
The History of Parliament is widely recognised as a monumental scholarly achievement. Since its origins in the dreams of Josiah Wedgwood in the early part of the 20th century, and then its establishment as a charitable trust in 1940 (with government funding from 1951), it has produced a voluminous output.
This is a judiciously edited and structured collection of arguably the most important of Blair Worden’s essays. It is always possible to question the reasons for republishing essays that have appeared elsewhere, especially in this case, as none of these essays have been resting in obscurity and they are all available in print and electronic forms via institutional libraries the world over.
Robin Usher’s Protestant Dublin sets out its stall from the beginning: it is a study of symbolic and iconographic landscape of Dublin, the essential purpose of which is to explore ‘how the physical environment conveyed meanings relating [sic] to institutional authority’ (p. 3).
The study of nationality (a term used to designate historically and constitutively diverse nations) poses a number of acute methodological, historical, and philosophical problems.
Recently, Sir Keith Thomas, after chairing the judging panel for the annual Wolfson History Prize, signalled his misgivings over the tendency for young historians to eschew conventional academic publishing (the scholarly monograph) and instead to ‘hire an agent, cut out the footnotes, jazz it all up a bit and try to produce a historical bestseller from what would have otherwise been a perfectl
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.