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  • Book Reviews

    Information

    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...

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  • Folly and Malice

    Article

    Folly and Malice: The Habsburg Empire, the Balkans and the Start of World War One, John Zametica, Shepheard-Walwyn, 2017, 766p, £27-95. ISBN 0856835137. This painstaking and meticulous piece of scholarship offers a challenge to some widely-held assumptions about the events which led up to the outbreak of World War One....

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  • A Short History of the Russian Revolution

    Article

    A Short History of the Russian Revolution, Geoffrey Swain, I.B. Tauris, 2017, hardback, 232 pp., £10.99, ISBN 9781780767932 This new interpretation of the events of 1917 by Geoffrey Swain, Honorary Professor Emeritus and former Alec Nove Chair in Russian and East European Studies at the University of Glasgow, has been...

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  • Volunteers and Pressed Men

    Article

    Volunteers and Pressed Men. How Britain and its Empire Raised Its Forces in Two World Wars, Roger Broad, Fonthill, 2016, hardback, 206 pp., £20.00, ISBN 9781781553961 This volume focuses specifically upon recruitment for the two World Wars of the twentieth century, which will enable students to readily compare and contrast...

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  • If the Kaiser Comes

    Article

    If the Kaiser Comes. Defence Against A German Invasion of Britain in the First World War, Mike Osborne, Fonthill, 2017, paperback, 192 pp., £16.99, ISBN 9781781555750  As commemoration of so many facets of the First World War continue to mark its centenary, particularly focused upon the casualties and fatalities sustained...

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  • Women and the Great Hunger

    Article

    Women and the Great Hunger, Christine Kinealy, Jason King and Ciaran Reilly, Cork University Press, 2017, paperback, 236 pp., £21.95, ISBN 97809909454  The seventeen editors and authors contributing to this groundbreaking study include some of the leading researchers in Irish studies, offering new scholarship, methodologies and perspectives on this immense...

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  • 1016 and 1066

    Article

    1016 and 1066. Why the Vikings caused the Norman Conquest, Martyn and Hannah Whittock, Robert Hale, 2016, paperback, 160 pp., £12.99, ISBN 9780719819193  Martyn Whittock, a secondary school history teacher (many of whose 42 history books I used in my own teaching), and Hannah Whittock, who read Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic at...

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  • Passchendaele 1917

    Article

    Passchendaele 1917: The Tommies’ Experience of the Third battle of Ypres, Robert J. Parker, Amberley, 2017, 288p, £20-00. ISBN 978-1-4456-5571-0 This very coherent commentary and analysis of what we know as the ‘Passchendaele’ campaign in 1917 is sub-titled ‘The Tommies’ Experience of the Third battle of Ypres’ but in reality...

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  • In the Context of Eternity

    Article

    In the Context of Eternity. A Short History of the Christian Church, David Arnold, Grosvenor House Publishing Limited, 2015, paperback, 303 pp., £10.00, ISBN 9781781484487 This compact overview, by a recently elected Fellow of the Historical Association, combines erudition with accessibility and is a welcome addition to the history of...

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  • Arthur and the Kings of Britain

    Article

    Arthur and the Kings of Britain. The Historical Truth Behind the Myths, Miles Russell, Amberley Publishing, 2017, hardback, 320 pp., £20.00, ISBN 9781445662749  This exploration of the Dark Ages, as mediated by the twelfth century historian Geoffrey of Monmouth in his History of the Kings of Britain, written in 1136,...

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  • The Trouble with Tea

    Article

    The Trouble with Tea. The Politics of Consumption in the Eighteenth-Century Global Economy, Jane T. Merritt, Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, 2017, paperback, 212 pp., £17.00, ISBN 9781421421537 No event in the American Revolution is perhaps more vividly recalled than the Boston tea party - to the extent that, as...

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  • The Comet Sweeper

    Article

    The Comet Sweeper. Caroline Herschel’s Astronomical Ambition, Claire Brock, Icon Books, 2017, paperback, 292 pp., £8.99, ISBN 9781785781667 Caroline Herschel - sister of the royal astronomer William Herschel - qualifies to be regarded as no less a figure than ‘Britain’s first female professional scientist’, maintains Claire Brock in this lively account of...

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  • Terriers in India

    Article

    Peter Stanley is working on the largely unexplored history of the thousands of British Territorial soldiers who served in India during the First World War using their letters and diaries. He is trying to discover what happened to these men when they returned to Britain. Did their service in India...

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  • The Anatomy of a Traitor

    Article

    The Anatomy of a Traitor: The History of Espionage and Betrayal, Michael Smith, Aurum Press, 2017, 320p, £20.00. ISBN 978-1-78131-657-3. Although the sub-title of this book hints at a rather wider perspective, in essence this work is focused on very recent history, to the degree that this reviewer recognised most...

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  • The Fighting Essex Soldier

    Article

    The Fighting Essex Soldier: Recruitment, war and society in the fourteenth century, [ed] Christopher Thornton, Jennifer Ward and Neil Wiffen, Essex Publications, 2017, 178p, £18-99. ISBN 978-1-909291-88-1. Ten years ago The Historian (97, Winter 2007, pp6-13) published an article entitled ‘What did you do in the Hundred Years War, Daddy?, with...

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  • Review of Public History. A Practical Guide by Faye Sayer

    Article

    What’s the point of history? In a time when the value of studying the humanities is often questioned this book provides a genuine attempt to analyse how history impacts on people’s lives. The book explains how the past connects with its public, discussing the role which interpretations play in contributing to social and...

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  • The Spies of Winter

    Article

    The Spies of Winter: the GCHQ Codebreakers who fought the Cold War, Sinclair McKay, Aurum Press, 2017, 346p, £9-99. ISBN 978-1-78131-298-8. For anyone interested in the wartime exploits and achievements of the code-breakers at Bletchley Park, this will be a compelling sequel. What Sinclair McKay offers is an exploration of...

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  • Imperial Violence and the Path to Independence

    Article

    Imperial Violence and the Path to Independence: India, Ireland and the Crisis of Empire by Shereen Ilahi (I.B. Tauris, 2016) 258pp., £ 59, ISBN 978-1-78453-130-0 In the aftermath of World War I, the British Empire was hit by two different crises on opposite sides of the world: the Jallianwala Bagh...

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  • The Beauty of Her Age

    Article

    The Beauty of Her Age: A Tale of Sex, Scandal and Money in Victorian England by Jenifer Roberts (Amberley Publishing), 2016 276pp., £20 hard, ISBN 978-1-4456-5320-4 If you enjoy a good yarn full of sex, scandal and money then this is the book for you. It’s a rags to riches...

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  • Coffee: A Drink for the Devil

    Article

    Coffee: A Drink for the Devil by Paul Chrystal (Amberley Publishing), 2016 96pp., £9.99 paper, ISBN 978-1-4456-4939-2 In the Western world, coffee consumption is around one-third that of tap water and the poet T.S. Eliot commented that ‘I have measured out my life with coffee spoons.’ After petroleum, coffee is...

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