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Historians of pretty well every field and period have long acknowledged that historical enquiry cannot (indeed, must not) be limited to describing the actions and experiences of elites.
In the 21st century John Owen (1616–83) already looks likely claim the prize as the most studied of the 17th-century puritans. Compared to the ubiquitous Richard Baxter, contender for the same prize in 20th-century scholarship, Owen was more cerebral and less alive to the power of fashioning a cult of personality around himself.
Éamon de Valera (1882–1975) is considered by many to be the most significant political figure in 20th-century Ireland.(1) He remains controversial and his achievements and legacy have often been challenged. In this new biography Ronan Fanning makes a very persuasive case that de Valera was indeed significant and that his achievements were considerable.
Heinrich Himmler apart, former poultry farmers don't figure much in the bibliography of military history. Martin Middlebrook, however, proves to be the outstanding exception. With this one book, his first, Middlebrook prised open a new window onto Great War studies in general, and in particular onto the 1916 Battle of the Somme.
Frances Yates’ seminal book Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition (1964), which established a longstanding scholarly orthodoxy that Renaissance magic derived from interpretations of the Hermetic Corpus, has been challenged in its details by Bruno scholars and others.
One of the oldest and most familiar tropes in the historiography of the American Civil War argues that the conflict posed an urban industrial Union against a rural agricultural Confederacy.
Despite their presence in the popular imagination and their undoubted importance in the narrative of medieval history, the Crusades have for a long time sat apart from mainstream medieval historiography. Traditionally, the Crusades themselves are as peripheral in the minds of historians of Europe as they were geographically.
Thomas Ahnert’s The Moral Culture of the Scottish Enlightenment is an unusual work. Little more than an extended essay, its brevity and lucidity belie the complexity and force of its central thesis. Whilst there is no doubt that the book represents an important historiographical intervention, it is rather harder to explain why or where it does so.
Jason Garner's monograph on the origins of the Federación Anarquista Ibérica (FAI) is an illuminating and much-welcomed addition to the inchoate body of English-language scholarship dealing specifically with pre-Civil War Spanish anarchism.
The American Civil War led directly to the passage of the 13th Amendment and the abolition of chattel slavery in the United States. How that happened and why it took so long has been a matter of dispute ever since.