Book Reviews

The Historian is the publication for general members of the HA. One of its regular features is book reviews.  The reviews cover everything from the popular new history books to some of the more obscure, specialist books that make you proud that publishers still value history books. Find out what is hot on the history shelves here.

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  • Britain’s Jews in the First World War

    Article

    Britain’s Jews in the First World War, Paula Kitching, Amberley, 2019, 286p, £14-99.  ISBN 978-1-4456-6320-3 The title of this book does not fully convey the importance of its contents and focus. It provides a variety of perspectives on the Jewish involvement in the British war effort in the Great War....

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  • Petit’s Tours of Old Staffordshire

    Article

    Petit’s Tours of Old Staffordshire, Philip Modiano, RPS Publications, 2019, 180p [with 185 images], £14-00. ISBN 978-1-9164931-0-0 Occasionally a remarkable book appears on a most unexpected topic. Philip Modiano’s research into the life and creative output of the Reverend John Louis Petit is just one such work. Modiano presents this...

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  • The Pirate World: A History of the Most Notorious Sea Robbers

    Article

    The Pirate World: A History of the Most Notorious Sea Robbers, Angus Konstam, Osprey Publishing, 2019, 336p, £25-00. ISBN 976-1-4728-3097-5 Angus Konstam very successfully blends a narrative of how piracy has been a challenge to settled society for at least two thousand years with some very important insights. He explains...

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  • The Parish Atlas of England

    Article

    The Parish Atlas of England: All Early Ordnance Survey 6-inch Maps Traced Over, (ed) T.C.H. Cockin, Malthouse Press, 2017, 898p, £60.00*, ISBN 978-1-907364-10-5. *The Parish Atlas of England is available to Historical Association members at the special price of £45.00 direct from the publishers: The Malthouse Press, Grange Cottage, Malthouse Lane,...

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  • The Great Famine

    Article

    The Great Famine, (ed) John Gibney, Pen and Sword History, 2018, 136p, £12-99. ISBN 9781526736635. This selection of essays, edited by John Gibney, is the first instalment of a collaboration between Pen and Sword History and the History Ireland magazine. Its focus is the Irish Potato Famine of the 1840s...

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  • Aunt Branwell and the Brontë Legacy

    Article

    Aunt Branwell and the Brontë Legacy, Nick Holland, Pen and Sword History, 2018, 160p, £12-99. ISBN 9781526722232. Nick Holland offers a very constructive and helpful introduction to the life and achievements of Elizabeth Branwell, ‘Aunt Branwell’ to the four Brontë children who survived into adulthood.  He is already a biographer...

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  • The Palestinians and British Perfidy: The Tragic Aftermath of the Balfour Declaration of 1917

    Article

    The Palestinians and British Perfidy: The Tragic Aftermath of the Balfour Declaration of 1917, C.W.R. Long, Sussex Academic Press, 2018, 307p, £75-00. ISBN 1845198961978. One of the hazards of modern-day British politics, an experience shared by politicians in both of our main political parties, is to express a view or...

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  • The Book of the Poppy

    Article

    The Book of the Poppy, Chris McNab, The History Press, Stroud, paperback, ISBN 9780750982481 As Remembrance Day is commemorated in 2018 one hundred years on from the ending of hostilities, this concise and evocative compact volume, first published in hardback in 2014 and now reissued in paperback, provides an illuminating...

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  • The Poisoned Well: Empire and its Legacy in the Middle East

    Article

    The Poisoned Well: Empire and its Legacy in the Middle East, Roger Hardy, Hurst and Company, London, paperback, 2018, ISBN 9781849049542. Roger Hardy worked for more than twenty years as a Middle East analyst with the BBC World service. In this book he ‘unearths an imperial history stretching from North Africa...

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  • Laughing Shall I Die: Lives and Deaths of the Great Vikings

    Article

    Laughing Shall I Die: Lives and Deaths of the Great Vikings, Tom Shippey, Reaktion Books, hardback, 2018, ISBN 9781780239095 Tom Shippey’s major new study of the Vikings comes highly recommended, tipped by Professor Jesse Byock to become ‘a classic’ since ‘it takes the reader deep into the world and thought...

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  • Britain 1780-1945: Society under Pressure

    Article

    Britain 1780-1945: Society under Pressure, Richard Brown, Authoring History, paperback, 2018, ISBN 9781985773370. Richard Brown’s latest social history of Victorian and Edwardian Britain, like David Cannadine’s Victorious Century: The United Kingdom, 1800-1906, reflects at the outset, upon his good fortune to have grown up in the 1950s in what can...

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  • Storied Ground: Landscape and the Shaping of English National Identity

    Article

    Storied Ground. Landscape and the Shaping of English National Identity, Paul Readman, Cambridge University Press, hardback, 2018, ISBN 9781108424738 This wide-ranging and stimulating book ‘uncovers why landscape matters so much to the English people, exploring its particular importance in shaping English national identity amid the transformations of modernity’. The obvious...

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  • Ironside: The Authorized Biography of Field Marshal Lord Ironside

    Article

    Ironside. The Authorized Biography of Field Marshal Lord Ironside, by Edmund Ironside, Stroud: The History Press, 2018, 414 pp., ISBN 978 0750 963794, £40.00 An effective and interesting work that makes excellent use of the Ironside diaries in order to throw particular light on the interwar British army and the...

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  • D-Day: The Soldiers’ Story

    Article

    D-Day: The Soldiers’ Story, by Giles Milton, London, John Murray, 2018, ISBN 978-1-473-4901-9. £25.00 Why one side wins, and another does not, is the key element in military history. That element is not well answered by focusing on the face of battle, the approach that is so often taken today....

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  • Travellers in the Third Reich

    Article

    Travellers in the Third Reich. The Rise of Fascism through the Eyes of Everyday People, Julia Boyd. London: Elliott and Thompson Limited, 2017, 488 pp., ISBN 978 1 78396 381 2, £10.99 A well-written and interesting account that reflects not only a wideranging trawl through a range of sources but...

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  • Warfare, Raiding and Defence in Early Medieval Britain

    Article

    Warfare, Raiding and Defence in Early Medieval Britain, by Erik Grigg, Marlborough: Robert Hale, 2018, 224 pp., £25; ISBN 978 0 7198 26788. A sophisticated analysis of defence in early-medieval Britain that focuses on the widespread building of early-modern dykes in order to thwart the raids that were an incessant...

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  • Snapdragon

    Article

    Snapdragon: The World War II Exploits of Darby’s Ranger and Combat Photographer Phil Stern, Liesl Bradner, Osprey, 2018, 312p, £20-00, ISBN 978-1-4728-2850-7 Phil Stern was a highly successful photographer of fashionable and remarkable figures in the post-war era. His range extended from Marilyn Monroe and Frank Sinatra to the more serious...

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  • Voices of the Flemish Waffen-SS

    Article

    Voices of the Flemish Waffen-SS, Jonathan Trigg, Amberley, 2017, 256p, £20-00. ISBN 978-1-4456-6636-5  The subtitle of Jonathan Trigg’s book is ‘The Final Testament of the Oostfronters’ and this very aptly guides us to his purpose in researching this topic. Given the unsettling knowledge that Belgian and Dutch nationals fought within...

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  • Free Seats for All

    Article

    Free Seats for All: The boom in church building after Waterloo, Gill Hedley, Umbria Press, 2018, 20p, £20-00, ISBN 978-1-910074-16-1 This is a welcome addition to our detailed understanding of the growth of Anglican church building in the 19th Century. It stands as a very helpful complement to M.H. Port’s Six Hundred...

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  • Stoke-on-Trent in 50 Buildings

    Article

    Stoke-on-Trent in 50 Buildings, Mervyn Edwards, Amberley, 2018, 96p,       £14-99. ISBN 978-1-4456-7781-1 Mervyn Edwards records that there are fewer than 200 listed buildings in Stoke-on-Trent. The limited number of listed buildings is an immediate indication of the constraints under which he has been making his selection of fifty buildings for...

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