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.
It is acceptable to like bishops again. Perhaps this change in the historiographical weather (would it be too much to label it an ‘episcopal turn’?) is not so much a result of the opening up of new sources, but a reflection of academics’ own positions in the wider world. The 1970s and 1980s fixed us with a standard of bishops as intolerant heresy hunters and seekers-out of deviancy.
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.
Of all former government officials who have turned to the pen, Sir Rodric Braithwaite should arguably be considered one of the more welcome additions. Following three previous books focusing on the Soviet Union and Russia, he has recently turned his attention to the issue of nuclear weapons and the precarious deterrence which has kept them from being used in warfare since 1945.
The second publication to appear in Routledge’s Rulers of the Latin East series, Simon John’s new book charts the career of Godfrey of Bouillon, a person who was, as the author notes, ‘by any estimation … a significant historical figure’ (p. 1).
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.
In the latest of our occasional Reviews in History podcast series, Jordan Landes talks to Joanna Cohen about her new book and the role and nature of the consumer in the US throughout the nineteenth century.
Joanna Cohen is a Senior Lecturer in American History at Queen Mary University of London.