Louis VIII, king of France from 1223 to 1226, is not a monarch who has drawn significant attention from historians. His reign of just three years stands trapped between the nearly 43-year reign of his father, Philip Augustus, and the nearly 44-year reign of his son, Louis IX (later Saint Louis). Louis VIII inevitably draws somewhat unfavourable comparison with his predecessor and his heir.
Into the relatively small pond of English-language work on the early modern Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, the Finnish historian Miia Ijäs has launched a monograph, based on her doctoral dissertation, which will be received with interest.
Frederick Barbarossa is arguably one of the most important German rulers of the Middle Ages, and certainly one of the best known. Still, English-speaking readers have had to wait a long time for a biography of this Holy Roman Emperor.
In the latest of our occasional Reviews in History podcast series, Jordan Landes interviews Darin Hayton about the latter's recent book on the use of astrology as a political tool in an early Renaissance court.
Darin Hayton is associate professor of history of science at Haverford College.
Since the fall of the Soviet Union and the emergence of an independent Russia, much scholarship, both in Russia and the West, has been concerned with the pre-revolutionary monarchist and nationalist parties which had attracted relatively little attention earlier.
Despite their presence in the popular imagination and their undoubted importance in the narrative of medieval history, the Crusades have for a long time sat apart from mainstream medieval historiography. Traditionally, the Crusades themselves are as peripheral in the minds of historians of Europe as they were geographically.
Carlos Eire’s Reformations aims to provide a readership of ‘beginners and nonspecialists’ (p. xii) with an introduction to European history between 1450 and 1650. Eire narrows down this immense task by concentrating his narrative on the history of religion.
Andrew Tompkins’ book, Better Active than Radioactive!, sets out to examine anti-nuclear protest in the 1970s in a comparative framework. His focus on anti-nuclear activists in France and West Germany leads him to argue that transnational cooperation and interconnection in the anti-nuclear movement was much more marked that we traditionally assume.
One of the most memorable and unsettling works of historical fiction to appear in the last 15 years is Louis de Bernières’ Birds without Wings, which tells the stories of the inhabitants of Eskibahçe, a fictional village in the Ottoman Empire, in the years before, during and after the First World War.
The 13 essays in this book are the outcome of a conference (with the addition of a few other papers) held at Winchester University in September 2011.