How to review orphan books

It’s the time of year when those high profile history books not heavily discounted in December are available at half price in Waterstones.  With honourable exceptions, too many titles heavily promoted in the run up to Christmas were heavyweight stocking fillers, of which – with due predictability – a depressingly high number focused upon ever more arcane aspects of the Second World War. Continue reading →

Interview with recent PhD graduate, Dr Louise Fairbrother

What was the subject of your research? My research looked in detail at how the town governments of Southampton and various other English towns organised their industry and trade in the sixteenth century.  It focussed specifically on the way in which they controlled the groups involved.  In Southampton’s case, this was by the use of devices such as licences, oaths and ordinances on the three groups of the burgesses, the freemen and the strangers. Continue reading →

The Many Lives of Calouste Gulbenkian, World’s Richest Man

  At a ceremony in Lisbon last Thursday His Excellency Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, President of Portugal, helped launch Jonathan Conlin's new biography of the Anglo-Armenian oil baron Calouste Gulbenkian (1869-1955). Published in English by Profile Books as Mr Five Per Cent: The Many Lives of Calouste Gulbenkian, World's Richest Man, Jonathan's book coincides with a year of festivities marking the 150th anniversary of Gulbenkian's birth. Continue reading →

David Lloyd George: Britain’s other iconic wartime leader

On 14th December 2018, the centenary of the ‘Coupon Election’, Adrian Smith, Emeritus Professor of Modern History, argues let’s not exclude Lloyd George from Britain's ‘nation story’. Cartoon by Leonard Raven-Hill for Punch, 1917 <https://punch.photoshelter.com/gallery/Leonard-Raven-Hill-Cartoons/G00002GdkHW9x2vk/> Polly Toynbee in the Guardian recently used the centenary of the Armistice to label the last Liberal government as ‘even worse’ than Theresa May’s. Continue reading →

What is Musical Germanness?

This month sees the publication of Dreams of Germany: Musical Imaginaries from the Concert Hall to the Dance Floor, which Neil Gregor has co-edited with University of Southampton musicologist, Thomas Irvine. Here, Neil considers some of the ways the book rethinks both the histories of national identity and modern and contemporary music. Dreams of Germany: Musical Imaginaries from the Concert Hall to the Dance Floor is a book about music and ‘Germanness’. Continue reading →

Envisioning Emperors

Alan Ross is currently a visiting scholar in the Classics Department at Dartmouth College, New Hampshire, where he is working on Late Antique literary culture. He recently published a co-edited volume with Brill, entitled Imagining Emperors in the Later Roman Empire. Here, he tells us why we need another book about emperors. Continue reading →

World War One, Student Protests in China and the Foundation of the Chinese Communist Party

Within the centenary commemorations of the First World War, one history-making aspect that is often overlooked is what the war had to do with the foundation by young Chinese intellectuals of the Chinese Communist Party, the party that continues to govern China today. In this Blog post, Elisabeth Forster discusses what was fought over in China’s war of ideas. 'Chinese labourers at Boulogne August 1917', Ernest Brooks [Public domain], via Wikimedia. Continue reading →

On White Fury

October sees the publication of Christer Petley’s major new study of slavery and abolition. His book tells the story of the struggle over slavery in the British empire — as told through the rich, expressive, and frequently shocking letters of one of the wealthiest British slaveholders ever to have lived. Here, Christer reflects on the choice of the title: White Fury. The title of the book was decided late on. Continue reading →

The Agincourt Campaign of 1415: The men who fought in Clarence and Gloucester’s Retinues

Michael Warner, PhD candidate at the University of Southampton, has recently been awarded the inaugural ‘Agincourt Scholarship’ by the Military Order of Agincourt in recognition for his contribution to the history of the Battle of Agincourt. He gives us an insight into his research and findings. The men who served on the 1415 campaign and fought at the Battle of Agincourt have indeed been remembered.[1] Shakespeare guessed it right. Continue reading →