Thatcher’s Progress: From Social Democracy to Market Liberalism through an English New Town / Guy Ortolano
In 1979 Pete Wrong of the art collective and Punk band Crass was being interviewed by New Society about his graffiti operation on the London Underground: ‘We don’t just rip the posters down or spray them. We use stencils, neatly, to qualify them.
At the time of writing this review (early April 2020), Harry and Meghan had decamped to Los Angeles, Prince Charles was recovering from the coronavirus, and Queen Elizabeth had just delivered a rare television address to the British people urging resolve in the face of COVID-19.
In the preface of Catholic Nuns and Sisters in a Secular Age, Carmen M. Mangion admits ‘this was not a book I wanted to write. This was a book I thought should be written’ (p.xi).
Disability in industrial Britain: A cultural and literary history of impairment in the coal industry, 1880-1948 / Kirsti Bohata, Alexandra Jones, Mike Mantin, Steven Thompson
Danger, disaster and the loss of life are emblematic features of Britain’s cultural memory of coal mining. Netflix’s hit series, The Crown, prominently reinforced these motifs through its recent portrayal of the 1966 Aberfan disaster in South Wales.
Luke Blaxill’s book deserves to be seminal. Its unassuming title conceals a bracing methodological challenge: an argument for the application of specific digital techniques to the study of electoral politics.
AI Narratives: A History of Imaginative Thinking about Intelligent Machines / Stephen Cave, Kanta Dihal, Sarah Dillon
‘Artificial intelligence (AI)’ is a loaded term, rife with connotative contradiction that inspires debate, disagreement, and disillusion. But what is AI, really? How have our expectations of computational capability, and even a robot Armageddon, come to be? Why does it matter how we talk about increasingly sophisticated technology, not just in expository prose, but also in fiction?
Paul O’Leary’s Claiming the Streets: Processions and Urban Culture in South Wales, c.1830–1880 provides a detailed and lively account of mid 19th-century processional culture. It takes us on a journey through Cardiff, Merthyr Tydfil, Neath and Swansea and investigates the diversity and complexity of street procession in these towns.
Martin Johnes is an industrious historian of 20th–century Wales, and has published extensively on topics such as sport, national identity, the 1966 Aberfan disaster and the civic history of Cardiff.(1) Wales since 1939 is a fusion of several of these endeavours (and more), and one which has produced an integrated and fresh perspective on modern Wales.
In January 1988, hundreds of people gathered in Cardiff for a rally organised by ‘Wales Against Clause 28’. Held aloft ‘were signs identifying the places the mainly lesbian and gay marchers had lived and where they were from to disprove the popular notion that “there were no gays in Wales”.’ (p.