Reviews

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...

Front cover of the book A Portable Cosmos

Everyone has heard of the Rosetta Stone. Not so familiar, but equally compelling, is a purely Greek artefact of the same period found in a first-century bc shipwreck chanced upon by sponge divers off the coast of Antikythera, an island between...

Front cover of the book Victorians Undone: Tales of the Flesh in the Age of Decorum

Kathryn Hughes feels that most modern biographies lack an essential ingredient, which is life itself, particularly in its most basic form – the body.

Lytton Strachey introduced an element of iconoclasm into a staid genre after the First...

Front cover of the book Law, Crime & Deviance Since 1700

In recent decades, much of the scholarship on the history of crime has focused on the causes célèbres that gripped Europe and the US in the late 19th
and early 20th centuries. However, by taking a broader chronological approach and...

Front cover of Portmahomack on Tarbat Ness.

Archaeology can provide new historical narratives for familiar places. The excavations at Portmahomack on Tarbat Ness, beyond the Great Glen on the north-east coast of Scotland, have enriched a story anchored around the 12th-century foundation of...

Front cover of Justinian

Why should we be interested in a sixth-century legal code? The Emperor Justinian (527-565) gets a bad press as a misguided autocrat, but there is no disagreement about his extraordinary achievement in the legal sphere. With amazing speed and...

Front cover of The First European: A History of Alexander in the Age of Empire.

One’s first thought on contemplating this behemoth is of the Italian phrase meaning that all translators are traducers. What the publishers had in mind when they translated Pierre Briant’s Alexandre des lumières: Fragments d’histoire...

Front cover of Cleopatra’s Needles: The Lost Obelisks of Egypt.

The tale of how three 19th-century engineers – the Frenchman Apollinaire Lebas, the Englishman John Dixon (not forgetting his younger brother Waynman) and the American Henry Gorringe – managed to transport their respective obelisks to London,...

Front cover of The Time Traveller's Guide to Restoration Britain.

Coffee, chocolate, balcony, draper and yacht are words that entered the English language during the Restoration, as Ian Mortimer points out in this thoroughly entertaining guide to life in Restoration Britain. It was, he suggests, a turbulent...

Front cover of Man of Iron

Thomas Telford (1757-1834) was a prolific transport architect, who split Britain in half when he surveyed, designed and helped manage the building of the Caledonian Canal (1803-22). This impressive achievement connected Scotland’s east and west...

Front cover of Savage Nobles and Noble Savages.

When told Amundsen had beaten Scott to the South Pole, Lord Curzon remarked: ‘I see the dogs have won.’ The double-entendre was intentional. The Norwegian had used dog-sledges. Scott opted for the nobler man haulage – and died of...

A Revolution in Color: The World  of John Singleton Copley

In London’s National Portrait Gallery a large canvas depicts Britain’s ermined decision-makers during the American War of Independence. Central to the importance of the painting, though physically off centre within it, is a stricken William Pitt...

Front cover of Britain's War

Daniel Todman is a first-rate military historian, but in Britain’s War he has written an economic and social history, as well as a political and military story. Its heart is the story of the people’s war, wonderfully illustrated from the...