The history of public health has been a flourishing field in the last three decades. Yet despite a spate of excellent monographs about various epidemic diseases and many good collections about health and disease in Africa, Asia, The Middle East, Latin America, as well as Europe and North America, the most recent textbook on the history of public health is four decades old.
Professor Spence is described on the dust-cover of this book as 'perhaps now the leading historian of China in the English-speaking world'. Without doubt he is the most imaginative and the most versatile scholar working in that field. The Gate of Heavenly Peace, first published in 1981, was a history of modern China as seen through the lives of Chinese writers and intellectuals.
The appearance of a paperback version of an important book first published in 1995 is most welcome as it will make it more readily available. Equally, it is not easy to review such a work. The scholarly reviews that appeared noting its contents do not require emendation, because the book has not been rewritten.
How does one define widowhood? In spite of its widespread acceptance, the classic definition of widowhood as the phase of marriage following the death of one of the partners is never entirely satisfactory.
First published in 1961, Holt's Modern History of the Sudan deservedly established itself as the standard introduction to the subject. Holt revised the work in 1963; since 1979 he has collaborated with Martin Daly on further - slightly retitled - editions, of which this is the most recent.
Many writers attribute Ireland's problems to colonialism. Most, however, make only limited reference to literature on colonialism elsewhere, and debate is hampered by the intimacy of the Irish academic and intellectual scene, which means criticism is muffled by tact or excessively personalised.
Hardly a month seems to go by without another book being published about early modern witchcraft. Academic enthusiasm for this particular topic certainly shows no signs of abating, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to keep up with the burgeoning literature on the subject.
The Renaissance in Europe is an ambitious enterprise. It includes five volumes, at least five disciplines (history, art history, history of science, music and literature, in French and Spanish as well as in English), and a team of twenty-three people, from the course manager to the picture researchers and of course the thirteen authors.
Worshippers at the main dominical services of the Church of England have, with greater or lesser frequency according to usage, custom, or personal inclination from 1549, and until the revision of the prayer book in 1980, publicly and collectively asserted their belief in 'The Resurrection of the body and the life everlasting'.
Some historians only write big books and Keith Wrightson is among them, but he does so repeatedly, and in two sorts: pathbreaking, detailed, empirical local studies on the one hand, and magisterial, interpretative overviews on the other.