'Geography is about maps, History about chaps': a tired cliché, of course, though it tells us something about the ways in which disciplinary boundaries were constructed during the relatively recent past. Few historians today would make such a facile claim, if only because of the absurdity of the notion that only 'chaps' make history.
The social history of madness is a vibrant area of intellectual enquiry which in the past 20 years has generated an impressive series of monographs and essay collections. This volume is a scholarly addition to the literature.
This book is committed to two main propositions, one general and one more particular.
Cultures of Empire is an ideal volume for advanced undergraduate and postgraduate students, along with other scholars seeking to reflect on developments in an interdisciplinary field of inquiry that has rapidly evolved in little more than a decade.
'It is not necessary to be dull to write about history', Ged Martin remarks (p. 8). One suspects that many historians would add, 'but it helps'. This book is a wonderful antidote to that excessive seriousness. The style is crisp, paradox and aphorism abound – 'historians love paradoxes', Martin says (p.
The first question which may spring to the mind of any reader of this collection is: is it necessary or useful? Given the appearance in the not too distant past of the Oxford History of the British Empire, together with its themed volumes, can another edited collection on the empire contribute anything new or revealing?
As the title of the book suggests, Geographies of Empire covers the period roughly from the beginning of the ‘scramble for Africa’ – following the British invasion of Egypt in 1882 – to the year by which many of the territories formerly acquired by European colonial powers had been lost or given up.
Breakfasting in bed, Maynard Keynes recalled the immense scope of the laissez-faire world of the Pax Britannica at its zenith in the summer of 1914. ‘The inhabitant of London could order by telephone, sipping his tea … the various products of the whole earth, in such quantities as he might see fit, and reasonably expect their early delivery at his doorstep; he could ...
Those disinclined to judge their book by its cover will be pleased to discover that the image adorning the latest volume in the Oxford History of the British Empire (OHBE) series bears little relation to its contents. Showing the famous long bar at the Raffles Hotel in Singapore, it presents the imperial British in exemplary (if not stereotypical) terms.
Here is a history of verve, valour and vignettes with broad and exciting perspectives that make it wonderfully unfashionable and provocatively readable with the constant eminence of its scholarship and style.