Reviews

At first glance, the Ackers and Reid volume comes as a bit of a surprise. First, the cover is a surprise, because a painting of women climbing out of their graves in order to comb each other’s hair and tidy up a bit is not a picture one would...

The Gallipoli campaign of 1915 was one of the great military disasters of the First World War. The initial plan was to send a flotilla of old warships through the Straits of the Dardanelles and into the sea of Marmora. Naval guns would demolish...

Front cover of Four Princes: Henry VIII, Francis I, Charles V, Suleiman the Magnificent and the Obsessions that Forged Modern Europe.

With his Four Princes, John Julius Norwich uses four great rulers, each of whom was outsize in his own way, to cast light on their age and continent: 16th-century Europe. The result is a stimulating book, written in a clear and readable...

Front cover of The Rise and Fall of Adam & Eve.

The stories we tell define who we are as individuals and as a society, without which we struggle to understand ourselves. This is the central message behind Stephen Greenblatt’s impressive new book, In the Beginning was the Story: The Rise...

Postcard celebrating the February Revolution and the overthrow of the tsar, 1917.

‘Oh, the novel jokes of the merry muse of history’, wrote Nikolai Sukhanov to describe the events of October 1917 in Russia. That the Bolsheviks would end the year in power was inconceivable when Tsar Nicholas II was forced from the throne in...

Front cover of The Crucible of Islam.

Glen Bowersock is a historian of estimable range. From Emperor Augustus to Julian the Apostate and from Christian martyrdom narratives to the evolution of mosaics, his interests have taken him far and wide. Arabia has always been a particular...

Front cover of Palmyra: An Irreplaceable Treasure.

The fierce battles and acts of deliberate destruction in many ancient Syrian cities have robbed the country of much of its irreplaceable historical and archaeological heritage. However, one somewhat more positive consequence has been the number...

Front cover of The Shortest History of Germany.

In the summer before starting university, I sat through a German grammar course led by a Frau Junker. She split up the days into rigorous sections with an almost Prussian air and a Protestant work ethic. Her seriousness was offset only by her...

Front cover of Reformations: The Early Modern World, 1450-1650.

Carlos Eire’s massive, ambitious new survey navigates the rollercoaster of the Reformation period with all the drama and verve of the age itself, using these developments as a lens through which to understand early modern Europe as a whole....

front cover of the book Exiles and Expatriates in the History of Knowledge.

Peter Burke’s latest, and timely, book, Exiles and Expatriates, examines the ways people, moving across national and political boundaries, often as refugees, have brought in their wake the transfer – and thereby the widening – of...

Front cover of the book Fighting Fit: The Wartime Battle  for Britain’s Health

Fighting Fit charts the development of the British government’s public health measures during the Second World War. Its well-researched and highly informative chapters are cleverly divided according to the different parts of the body,...

Front cover of the book Be Like The Fox

For a man who never achieved the recognition he yearned for while alive, Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527) has enjoyed a dazzlingly rich afterlife, though not the one he would have chosen.

Much of history’s judgment of Machiavelli concerns...

Front cover of the book Yitzhak Rabin: Soldier, Leader, Statesman.

The Israeli novelist, Amos Oz, described Yitzhak Rabin as ‘not a charismatic man, but rather a logical, skilful captain’. Rabin was both a political dove and a military hawk, who never pretended to be a far-sighted intellectual, had no small talk...

Front cover of the book Making Jet Engines in World War II

The history of science and technology is often told as the story of firsts. The received wisdom about the history of the jet engine in the Second World War is no different. Nazi Germany was the first country in the world to test-fly aircraft with...

Front cover of the book Britain and the Arab Middle East: World War I and its Aftermath.

Winston Churchill mused on the usefulness of studying history, observing that ‘the farther backward you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see’. While there is no doubt that a better understanding of the past gives clarity to the...

Front cover of the book The Mesmerists: The Society Doctor who held Victorian London Spellbound.

Wendy Moore draws us into the illustrious world of Professor John Elliotson, while exposing the challenges between new and traditional medicine and the ensuing bitter competition between Victorian physicians.

Elliotson helped to found...