When you walk in to the Propaganda: Power and Persuasion Exhibition at the British Library you are told that ‘propaganda is used to fight wars and combat disease, build unity and create division’. You then walk through a guard of honour of black mannequins that offer different definitions of the word ‘propaganda’.
At the beginning of the 18th century, Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban, maréchal de France, sent a letter to Louis XIV, as part of his efforts to persuade the King to help his poverty-stricken subjects.
Timing counts for so much in publishing and that is never clearer than when a major anniversary approaches. With the centenary of the First World War not yet actually upon us, there has already been a rush of publications. Meanwhile, just as many of the grandest television and radio programmes promised by the BBC have already been aired. Do we know anything we did not know a year or two ago?
As Kent Fedorowich (University of the West of England) and Andrew Thompson (University of Exeter) argue in the introduction to their edited collection Empire, Migration and Identity in the British World, the processes and histories of empire, migration and the British world are closely enjoined.
This book achieves two aims: to locate the Great War in the history of the 20th century, and to show how, as the 20th century unfolded, our understanding of the meaning and significance of the Great War changed as well.
The modern state is defined by its capacity to classify and order its peoples, argues James Scott in his seminal Seeing Like a State. To do so, officials needed to count the population and estimate its future growth. Karl Ittmann explores the rise, fall, and frustrations of colonial demography in the 20th-century British Empire.
Four years ago I published a review in this journal of a book on The Origins of Racism in the West.(1) I would like to begin the analysis of the volume by Bethencourt in the same way in which I began my piece on The Origins of Racism in the West, i.e.
Monarchy and the End of Empire: The House of Windsor, the British Government, and the Postwar Commonwealth / Philip Murphy
Philip Murphy’s Monarchy and the End of Empire is a carefully researched and beautifully presented book that chronicles the relationship between the monarchy, the UK government, and the decolonisation of the British Empire.
Attempting to redefine our understanding of the realities of Communism, both ideologically and as a lived actuality, is not a project for the faint hearted. In the gargantuan 600-plus page The Oxford Handbook of the History of Communism, S. A.
Jonathan Daly’s massive book will serve as a tonic for those anxious that the western world is slipping. It will serve as a red flag for specialists in the history of just about everywhere else, in the unlikely event they read beyond chapter one. As a story of innovation and achievement in the history of the West, this is a fine book, with many insightful passages and interesting details.