By official decree, Brazil celebrates its 500th anniversary in 2000: the modern history of the country dating from April, 1500, when a fleet commanded by Pedro Alvares Cabral anchored at Porto Seguro on the north-east coast of Bahia.
The near-simultaneous appearance of the three works under review reveals much about the present state of publications devoted to Antisemitism and the Nazi persecution and mass-murder of European Jewry. Virtually any serious bookstore now boasts a whole section devoted to the Holocaust, filled with books targeting almost any type of reader. For better or for worse, genocide sells.
In the popular imagination, the geographical complexity of the Holocaust has been reduced to two Polish towns, Oswiecim and Warsaw. The death camp sited in the former has emerged as not only the definitive death camp and representative of the state-sponsored factory-like mass killings of the Holocaust, but also as a synonym for evil.
Penelope Fitzgerald’s historical novel The Beginning of Spring, set in Moscow in 1913 but written at the height of perestroika, conveys an ambivalence familiar to those of us who spent time there during the Gorbachev years.
Over the last three decades, histories of popular politics in Latin America have proliferated. It is not hard to understand why. Elections and liberalism loomed large in the present, and so their history began to assume more importance. Larger trends in the discipline reinforced the shift, as historians tipped the interpretive scales away from socio-economic structures and towards agency.
It is a rare thing for a reviewer to read a book which on its own terms, in its content and argument, leaves nothing open to serious criticism. Professor Diarmaid Ferriter’s Ambiguous Republic: Ireland in the 1970s is one such book.
A dimension that has been either obscured or silenced in discussions of the First World War is that of the networks of intellectuals and activists who protested against this global conflagration.
Scholars of modern Jewish life have largely focused on Jews’ position in the nation-states in which they live.
Peter Webster’s Archbishop Ramsey: the Shape of the Church is the best introduction to Michael Ramsey’s archiepiscopacy at Canterbury currently available, and should be read by everyone interested in the state of the Church of England in the 1960s.