With the obvious exception of Pitt the Younger, the offspring of British prime ministers who have followed their fathers into politics have at best been pale shadows of their father. Admittedly, by my reckoning nine of them since the 1832 Great Reform Act have achieved cabinet rank, but none have seemed like potential prime ministers.
Questions of conspiracy and collusion loom large in these modern times. Historically, the revelation of obfuscated, ephemeral crimes has often tested the integrity of a state’s judicial apparatus. An investigating body may trace elaborate webs of influence and create exacting chronologies of events to test the veracity of witnesses’ testimonies.
It was more than 30 years ago when Albert Hourani pointed to the common Ottoman lineages of the Arab political elite active in the inter-war Middle East. ‘They had been at school together in Istanbul’, he noted.
As a scholar of Grant, I have come to view the news of the publication of each new Grant biography with trepidation. As almost every biographer of Grant has explained at the beginning of their magnum opus, Grant was an extremely complex man whose abilities bemused even his closest friends and allies.
In the last year several books appeared focused on the United States in the world that seek to combine a study of intellectual history, popular culture and politics in a long breath of the 19th century.
Many years ago, J. H. Overton drew a fine line between Non-Jurors on the one hand and Jacobites on the other. The former, according to Overton, were ‘in no active sense of the term Jacobites’ because they were ‘content to live peacefully and quietly without a thought of disturbing the present government’.
Christian Wolmar’s latest tome Railways and The Raj: How the Age of Steam Transformed India is a welcome addition to his existing repertoire of books on railways across the world. The volume offers an accessible account of the history of the railways of the Raj since the railway operations commenced in India in 1853.
Historians have been fighting about the causes and effects of the Civil War since they were using quill pens, and they figure to keep doing so until long after the laptop computer on which this is written has become an antique. Now Adam I. P.
While campaigning for the Senate in 1858, Abraham Lincoln delivered one of his most enduring speeches. Reflecting on the previous half-decade’s sectional struggles, Lincoln predicted that the nation’s conflict over slavery ‘will not cease, until a crisis shall have been reached, and passed’. Citing a familiar Biblical metaphor, Lincoln added, ‘A house divided against itself cannot stand.
It is an ambitious book that would try to cover the Conquest of Mexico, the rise and fall of the country’s hacienda system, the emergence of the Virgen de Guadalupe, the intricacies of Emiliano Zapata’s role in the Mexican Revolution, and the exodus of women from rural regions in the mid-1960s to look for work as ‘household help’ in the nation’s fast-growing capital city.