Paul A. Gilje, Professor of United States History at the University of Oklahoma and renowned expert on the history of common people on the waterfront in early America (1), argues in his recently published book on the War of 1812 that the U.S. declared war against Great Britain in 1812 in defense of neutral rights and the safety of American sailors.
In An Age of Infidels: The Politics of Religious Controversy in the Early United States, Eric R. Schlereth traces connections between arguments over belief and the new American nation’s partisanship, print culture, and civil society.
Slavery defined the Atlantic world. African forced labour produced the primary materials that drove European mercantile economies. The plantation complex lay at the core of societies from Brazil and the West Indies to the American mainland and West Africa.
In 1919, Douglas C. McMurtrie, Director of the Red Cross Institute for Crippled and Disabled Men, remarked that, ‘beyond reaches of history, the disabled man has been a castaway of society’.
Ireland’s protracted struggle for freedom from British rule has long occupied an important place in American imaginations. Few historians, however, have treated America’s sympathy for Ireland as a matter of formal state-to-state diplomacy.
The sprawling geographic, linguistic, and ethnic polyglot of Habsburg Europe makes an unexpected point of comparison with the United States. Bordering, at its western extremity, the Untersee and Lithuanian-Swiss border; and, at its eastern limits, reaching Kronstadt on the Transylvanian-Romanian border, the Habsburg Empire was the economic and cultural dynamo at the heart of Central Europe.
John Murray, fourth earl of Dunmore, the last royal governor of Virginia, features briefly in most accounts of the American Revolution. White slave-holders, in Dunmore’s colony and elsewhere, regarded him as a malign threat. George Washington, Virginia gentleman and planter, as well as commander of the Continental army, was among the many who denounced the governor as the devil incarnate.
Dr Pak’s important study of investment banking in New York in the first three decades of the 20th century blends financial and social history. This excellent book, which combines quantitative and qualitative approaches, is likely to appeal to some business-school academics and many social historians.
For every large historical topic – and the transatlantic slave trade is certainly a large one – there is a need for good small books to introduce the academic understanding of the topic to students and the general public. The writing of a good small book on a large topic, however, can be no small challenge.
In Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, Alan Sillitoe’s ground breaking 1958 novel, television is a metaphor for mass consumerism and the resulting growth of a more privatised, home-centred working-class in post-war Britain.