David Rollison has written a remarkable work of social and political history: vertiginously ambitious, A Commonwealth of the People showcases England’s constitutional and economic development from the 11th to the 17th century within world histories of nationalism, democratization, and globalization. ‘My subject’, he writes, ‘is the emergence of a “civilization”’ (p. 16).
Though these volumes cover just 12 years of parliamentary history, they are the most substantial yet to be published in the great series that will eventually make up the History of Parliament project. Seven stout volumes contain well over five million words, making their immediate predecessor, the volumes covering 1790–1820 edited by R. G. Thorne, look comparatively svelte.
St Francis Borja – in Spanish, S. Francisco de Borja – IV Duke of Gandia and III General of the Society of Jesus (1510–1566) was one of the most interesting and influential men of the Spanish 16th century.
The Henry III Fine Rolls project has delivered a new on-line edition of the surviving fine rolls from the reign of Henry III, king of England (1216–72).
This book examines the emergence and nature of the medieval kingdom of Norway. Professor Sverre Bagge’s study commences in the late 9th century when the earliest poetic sources first tell of one ruler, King Harald Fairhair, who extended his authority over coastal Norway at the expense of other regional rulers.
Bill Kissane's third book on the origins of democracy and the state in modern Ireland offers a challenging vision to constitutionalists in Ireland, one which will no doubt spark much debate, criticism and serious reflection amongst Irish historians, political scientists and constitutional lawyers.
Historians have great cause to be grateful to the precocious bureaucrats of medieval England, whose records they have exploited to shed light on so many aspects of the past. They should be equally thankful for the generations of scholars who have produced printed calendars of such records since the foundation of the Record Commission in 1800.
This dense, lengthy and – by the author’s own admission – ‘very difficult’ book (p. xi) tackles complex questions of power in one of the most contested and formative periods of Frankish history, between the death of Louis the Pious and the formal accession of the Capetians as kings of West Francia.
In Joseph Heller’s 1979 novel Good As Gold, the hapless protagonist, college professor and would-be public intellectual Bruce Gold, writes a light-hearted magazine article entitled ‘Nothing Succeeds As Planned’. He sends a copy to his contact at the White House, the ineffable Ralph Newsome, who is delighted with it. ‘I can’t tell you how you’re boggling our minds’, Newsome tells Gold.
Historians can only feel ambivalent about bureaucracy. ‘Admin’ tends to get in the way of those two core activities that define a university, research and teaching. Some of it might be necessary and benign: seminars require registers, after all.