Book Reviews

Book reviews from the Broadsides and Bulletins - a mix of blog posts, newspaper reviews and other online sources. (Manually updated, hopefully every few weeks.) RSS Feed

Review: Rites of Spring – Thompson Werk - Robert
Rites of Spring: The Great War and the Birth of the Modern Age. By Modris Eksteins. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1989. Bibliography, References, Index. ISBN 0-395-93758-2. Pp. 396.  $16.00 (Paper). In the Rites of Spring: The Great War and the Birth of the Modern Age, Modris Eksteins connects the culture of the late nineteenth century with the death and destruction wrought on the battlefields of the Great War.  While Paul Fussel advanced the thesis that the First World War directly caused the emer…  »

twitterstorians 16 January 2013

Review: The Long Shadow of the Civil War – Thompson Werk - Robert
The Long Shadow of the Civil War: Southern Dissent and Its Legacies. By Victoria E. Bynum. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2010. ISBN: 978-0-8078-3381-0. Bibliography. Index. Pp. 240. $35.00. Often misunderstood as a monolith, the Confederacy was not without dissenters and its own rebels.  In The Long Shadow of the Civil War, Victoria E. Bynum focuses on guerrilla bands that challenged Confederate rule in the states of North Carolina, Mississippi, and Texas.  Uprisings such…  »

twitterstorians 13 January 2013

Review: U.S. Grant – Thompson Werk - Robert
U.S. Grant: American Hero, American Myth. By Joan Waugh. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2009.  ISBN: 978-0-8078-3317-9. Bibliography. Index. Pp. 384. $30.00. Since the First World War, the memory of General Ulysses S. Grant has shifted from positive to negative to positive, again.  In part because of the restoration of Grant’s tomb, the disintegration of the Lost Cause, and the 1990 Ken Burns documentary on the Civil War, a more sympathetic interpretation of the general has  »

twitterstorians 13 January 2013

REVIEW: “Performing Medicine” by Michael Brown | From the Hands of Quacks - Jai Virdi
Performing Medicine; Medical Culture and Identity in Provincial England, c.1760-1850 (Manchester & New York: Manchester University Press, 2011), 254pp. I get excited when I receive a new book that so wonderfully engages with some of the major themes covered in my dissertation, and even better, a book that nicely contextualizes the background upon which I will narrate my story of aural surgery. I’ve long been a fan of Michael Brown’s works, particularly his paper “Medicine, Quackery and the Free…  »

histscimedtech 8 January 2013

U.S. Intellectual History: Rebirth of a Nation: Reflections, Ruminations, and Reactions

What follows are points of praise and criticism of Jackson Lears’ Rebirth of a Nation: The Making of Modern America, 1877-1920. I refuse to call this a review because that implies a smooth narrative of reflection. Creating that narrative requires more time than I have today. Plus, that kind of piece isn’t needed. This book has been positively reviewed, in narrative form, in a multitude of prominent, top-notch newspapers and magazines. In addition the end pages of Lears’ book are littered with q…  »

twitterstorians 28 December 2012

National Identity and the American Revolution « The Junto

Ken Owen explores some questions raised by Jack Rakove’s review of Kevin Phillips’ "1775" regarding national identity and political labels.

twitterstorians 27 December 2012

Jeffersongate: The Case of Henry Wiencek « The Junto - Michael D. Hattem
On October 16, Farrar, Straus and Giroux published Henry Wiencek’s third book, Master of the Mountain: Thomas Jefferson and His Slaves. His previous works both dealt with slavery, most notably his well-received An Imperfect God: George Washington, His Slaves, and the Creation of America. By contrast, his latest work has come under fire from leading Jefferson scholars around the country. Within days of the book’s release, highly critical reviews by academics appeared in online magazines. These r…  »

twitterstorians 22 December 2012

Jay Gitlin’s French Frontier « The Junto - Michael Blaakman
Michael Blaakman reviews Jay Gitlin’s "Bourgeois Frontier."

twitterstorians 18 December 2012

Science in Antiquity: A book review | The Renaissance Mathematicus

In the last few weeks everybody else has been nominating books of the year or recommending books for Christmas so I thought I would follow the trend and at the same time try to improve my somewhat negative image by actually writing a positive book review. In fact this is not a review of one book but of a whole series of seven books, The Routledge Sciences of Antiquity series. These books are not new but have been available for some years now although one of them saw the release of its second ex…  »

histscimedtech 18 December 2012

Taking counsel (Review of Stern, Telling Genes) | Genotopia

I just read Alexandra Stern’s fine new history of genetic counseling, Telling Genes (Johns Hopkins, 2012; $40 cloth/$25 paper/ $15 Kindle). Though Alex is my friend, I review her book here because her subject relates so closely to the themes … Continue reading →

histscimedtech 16 December 2012

Jackson Lears reviews ‘Inside the Centre’ by Ray Monk · LRB 20 December 2012

Reasonable men can dream monstrous dreams. It is the lesson of the 20th century: a lesson articulated from various perspectives since Adorno and Horkheimer wrote Dialectic of Enlightenment amid the wreckage of World War Two. Defenders of the Enlightenment can cogently argue (and many have) that Nazi science was a grotesque caricature, that the Holocaust was a betrayal of the Enlightenment rather than a fulfilment of its fatal dialectic. But it is harder to make that case with respect to the dev…  »

histscimedtech 14 December 2012

Review: Vietnam – Thompson Werk - Robert
Vietnam: Explaining America’s Lost War. By Gary R. Hess (ed). Malden, MA: Backwell Publishing, 2009. ISBN 978-1-4051-2528-4. Biography. References. Index. Pp. 218 $43.95 (Paper). In Vietnam: Explaining America’s Lost War, historian Gary R. Hess assesses the current state of Vietnam War historiography. With strong orthodox leanings, Hess compares the arguments made by revisionists with those of orthodox scholars. Topics covered in Hess’s work include: whether the war was necessary or a mistake; …  »

twitterstorians 11 December 2012

Book review: The Sleepwalkers: A History of Man’s Changing Vision of the Universe by Arthur Koestler – SomeBeans

Another result of my plea for reading suggestions on twitter; this is a review and summary of Arthur Koestler’s book “The Sleepwalkers: A History of Man’s Changing Vision of the Universe”. The book is a history of cosmology running from Pythagoras, in the 6th century BC, to Galileo who spanned the end of the 16th century, just touching lightly on Newton. It traces a revolution from a time when the cosmos, beyond the earth, was considered different, stable and perfect, to a time when it was shown  »

histscimedtech 4 December 2012

Putnis’s ‘News, Time and Imagined Community in Colonial Australia’ « M. H. Beals

This article provides an engaging description of the effects of sail, steam and telegraphy on the transmission of news content from Britain and Europe to Australia in the nineteenth-century. Drawin…

twitterstorians 1 December 2012

Inside the Centre: The Life of J Robert Oppenheimer by Ray Monk – review | Books | The Guardian - Steven Shapin
Steven Shapin salutes a biography of the ‘father of the atomic bomb’ Robert Oppenheimer was a complicated man. Everybody who knew him thought he was complicated; many of his friends and colleagues reckoned that he was far too complicated to figure out; some thought that he never figured himself out and that his life was one long, painful and ultimately unsuccessful experiment in personal identity, starting with toe-curling problems about sexual identity and culminating with mature, whose-side-i…  »

histscimedtech 18 November 2012

The Eugenic Impulse – The Chronicle Review – The Chronicle of Higher Education

Genetic medicine is here to stay. But its checkered past should be acknowledged, and the parameters of its future carefully considered.

histscimedtech 14 November 2012

The Theatre of Pain | The History of Emotions Blog

Dr Rob Boddice is Marie-Curie CoFund Fellow at the Cluster of Excellence ‘Languages of Emotion’, at the Freie Universität Berlin, and Honorary Research Fellow at the Birkbeck Pain Project, London. Here he reviews Javier Moscoso’s new book Pain: A Cultural History (Palgrave … Continue reading →

histscimedtech 2 November 2012

Steven Shapin reviews ‘The Pseudoscience Wars’ by Michael Gordin · LRB 8 November 2012

Fifteen hundred years before the birth of Christ, a chunk of stuff blew off the planet Jupiter. That chunk soon became an enormous comet, approaching Earth several times around the period of the exodus of the Jews from Egypt and Joshua’s siege of Jericho. The ensuing havoc included the momentary stopping and restarting of the Earth’s rotation; the introduction into its crust of organic chemicals (including a portion of the world’s petroleum reserves); the parting of the Red Sea, induced by a ma…  »

histscimedtech 1 November 2012

David Simpson reviews ‘Into the Silence’ by Wade Davis · LRB 25 October 2012

In February 1924, four months before George Mallory and Sandy Irvine died on Everest, Conrad published a short essay called ‘Geography and Some Explorers’. He distinguished between the provision of scientific facts, which could be of only limited interest, and the ‘drama of human . . .

histscimedtech 1 November 2012

Everyday Life in Fascist Venice, 1929-40 | Reviews in History

A number of scholars have recently examined the ways in which Italians participated in, supported and/or resisted the Fascist project of radically transforming politics, society, and the citizens’ private sphere, including the transformation of the

historyteacher 26 October 2012

A Country Merchant, 1495-1520: Trading and Farming at the End of the Middle Ages | Reviews in History

Professor Dyer’s A Country Merchant represents the development of several emerging themes in late medieval and early modern history: for one, the increasing recognition of the long 15th century, and especially the period roughly framed by the reign

historyteacher 26 October 2012

Book Review: Alan Turing: The Enigma by Andrew Hodges – SomeBeans

A brief panic over running out of things to read led me to poll my twitter followers for suggestions, Andrew Hodges’ biography of Alan Turing, Alan Turing: The Enigma  was one result of that poll. Turing is most famous for his cryptanalysis work at Bletchley Park during the Second World War. He was born 23rd June 1912, so this is his 100th anniversary year. He was the child of families in the Indian Civil Service, with a baronetcy in another branch of the family. The attitude of his public scho…  »

histscimedtech 15 October 2012

U.S. Intellectual History: Minority Report: Update on the Christian Left - Raymond J. Haberski, Jr.
In the Sunday NYTimes Book Review, David R. Swartz’s new book, Moral Minority: The Evangelical Left in an Age of Conservatism is reviewed by Molly Worthen (who will be a member of a panel at the S-USIH conference in a month).  Overall, Worthen finds much to praise about Swartz’s book, not least that it is one of the few books to ask what happened to the religious left following the Vietnam War.  Readers of this blog know I am interested in this question as well and having ordered Swartz’s book …  »

twitterstorians 30 September 2012

Bertie: A Life of Edward VII by Jane Ridley – review | Books | The Guardian - Bernard Porter
Bernard Porter on a philandering prince who made the monarchy popular again In 1857 the 16-year-old Albert Edward, Queen Victoria’s first son and so heir to her throne, was set an essay on "whether kings should be elected". Yes, he wrote, "it is better than hereditary right because you have more chance of having a good sovereign; if it goes by hereditary right, if you have a bad or weak sovereign, you cannot prevent him reigning." This, however, didn’t stop him accepting the throne when it pass…  »
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broadsides 16 September 2012

Cromwell’s Legacy | Reviews in History

Out of what materials was ‘Oliver Cromwell’ shaped? (1) To what extent was he self-consciously shaping and reshaping himself? Did he record those self-constructing manoeuvres with some insight and effect? Certainly his spiritual odyssey is

historyteacher 7 September 2012

Leonardo and the Last Supper by Ross King – review | Books | The Observer

A fine analysis of the Last Supper invites us to look afresh at Leonardo’s faded masterpiece, writes Peter Conrad

arts 3 September 2012

Reagan and Hoover, Sittin’ in a Tree – Book Review -Truthdig

By Peter Richardson “Subversives” shows how the two men and their allies sabotaged the careers of law-abiding citizens, defended reckless police violence and exploited an appalling double standard in the political use of FBI intelligence. Related Entries August 14, 2012 Reagan and Hoover, Sittin’ in a Tree August 7, 2012 From a Refugee Camp to the Olympics

historyteacher 22 August 2012

Book Review: Passage to Cosmos « Time to Eat the Dogs - Michael Robinson
Alexander von Humboldt had the air of the mystic about him. He was a man who wandered mountains, gathered disciples, and looked for hidden meanings. In the age of specialization, he still thought it reasonable to write a book about The Universe. Yet as mystics go, Humboldt was a strange one. His visions did not appear to him in moments of solitude, while sitting in a temple or perched on a mountaintop. Rather, they came to him in the midst of the typhoon, trying to apprehend the deluge of pheno…  »

histscimedtech 21 August 2012

U.S. Intellectual History: Review: Woodhouse on Turner’s *The Promise of Wilderness*

Review of James Morton Turner’s, The Promise of Wilderness: American Environmental Politics since 1964 (University of Washington Press, 2012). ISBN 9780295991757 Reviewed by Keith Woodhouse Legislating the Wild Environmental history is not always gathered into intellectual history’s wide embrace. The concreteness and immediacy of the natural world can seem distinct from the abstractions that make up the world of ideas; in some ways non-human nature is exactly what human thought and imaginati…  »

twitterstorians 9 August 2012

Horses, People and Parliament | Mercurius Politicus

Gavin Robinson, Horses, People and Parliament in the English Civil War: Extracting Resources and Constructing Allegiance (Ashgate, 2012). ‘Parliamentarian’ and ‘Royalist’ are two of those words that it’s easy to throw around unthinkingly. Partly it’s because they are such a convenient shorthand for a set of concepts that are too complicated to express succinctly, that we can forget the nuances that come with them. But as the introduction of Horses, People and Parliament points out, it’s also be…  »
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@mikecosgrave: Gavin Robinson’s new book on horses and allegiance in the English Civil War reviewed by @mercpol #earlymodern
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@Airminded: Gavin Robinson’s new book on horses and allegiance in the English Civil War reviewed by @mercpol #earlymodern
@sharon_howard on Twitter
@sharon_howard: Gavin Robinson’s new book on horses and allegiance in the English Civil War reviewed by @mercpol #earlymodern

broadsides 31 July 2012

Saints, Sacrilege & Sedition by Eamon Duffy – review | Books | The Guardian - Diarmaid MacCulloch
How Protestant was Tudor England? By Diarmaid MacCulloch Eamon Duffy secured his historical reputation with a great and eloquent book, The Stripping of the Altars, listening to voices that others had missed. Thanks to that and his later book, Fires of Faith, we can reassess both pre-reformation religion and the version of Catholicism that Queen Mary and her Archbishop of Canterbury, Cardinal Reginald Pole, rebuilt after Protestant mayhem. Now Duffy gathers up a number of essays pushing further …  »
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@conversiontales: Saints, Sacrilege & Sedition by Eamon Duffy – review via @guardian
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@earlymodernjohn: MacCulloch: ‘At times… Duffy ceases to be a Tudor historian who is a Catholic, and becomes a Catholic historian.’
@medievalqub on Twitter
@medievalqub: Saints, Sacrilege & Sedition by Eamon Duffy – review

broadsides 29 July 2012

Nonfiction Review: The Science of Human Perfection: How Genes Became the Heart of American Medicine by Nathaniel Comfort. Yale Univ, $35 (320p) ISBN 978-0-300-16991-1

In In this intriguing history of medical genetics, Comfort, associate professor of the history of medicine at Johns Hopkins, makes a bold and rather uncomfortable assertion: that together with the com

histscimedtech 27 July 2012

Jim Cullen, Review of Kevin Levin’s "Remembering the Battle of the Crater: War as Murder (Kentucky 2012) | History News Network

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@jondresner: Jim Cullen, Review of Kevin Levin’s "Remembering the Battle of the Crater: War as Murder (Kentucky… #historybooks
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@myHNN: Jim Cullen, Review of Kevin Levin’s "Remembering the Battle of the Crater: War as Murder (Kentucky… #historybooks

broadsides 24 July 2012

‘Charles R. Knight’ by Richard Milner: Book review –

Richard Milner’s ‘Charles R. Knight: The Artist Who Saw Through Time’ details the painter who generated popular images of dinosaurs, other prehistoric animals.

histscimedtech 21 July 2012

U.S. Intellectual History: Review: Shannon on *Cold War Social Science*

Review of Mark Solovey and Hamilton Cravens, eds. Cold War Social Science:  Knowledge Production, Liberal Democracy, and Human Nature (New York:  Palgrave MacMillan, 2012). ISBN: 978-0-230-34050-3, ISBN10: 0-230-34050-4 Reviewed by Christopher Shannon Social Science as Soulcraft As an academic genre, the edited volume of essays has a storied past in U.S. intellectual history.  The essays in John Higham and Paul Conkin’s New Directions in American Intellectual History (1979) and Richard Fox a…  »

twitterstorians 21 July 2012

U.S. Intellectual History: What the Hell

A few weeks ago, this blog published Jim Livingston’s savage critique of Paul Murphy’s new book.  The critique was part of a roundtable organized by Tim Lacy, our outgoing book review editor.  I am our current book review editor.  When I read Livingston’s piece, I thought, What the hell have I gotten myself into? I wasn’t just wondering about the book review editing gig, or doubting the wisdom of the blogging gig (from which I was taking a working break).  What I really had in mind was the ent…  »

twitterstorians 12 July 2012

BOOK REVIEW: Trees of Life: A Visual History of Evolution by Theodore W. Pietsch | The Dispersal of Darwin

Here at The Dispersal of Darwin, any mention of a tree of life stirs up the well-used image of Darwin’s sketch from 1837 (from Notebook B on transmutation, p. 36): Writing “I think” above his sketch, Darwin likened the evolutionary relationships between species like that of branches on a tree (common ancestry from a central trunk, continued diversity resulting from many new branches forming, extinction when some branches cease). He wrote in On the Origin of Species (1859, p. 130): “The affini…  »

histscimedtech 11 July 2012

Making History: The Historian and the Uses of the Past | Reviews in History

According to the blurb on the back of this book:‘Everyone has a personal connection to the past, independent of historical inquiry. So, what is the role of the historian? Making History argues that historians have damagingly dissociated the

twitterstorians 5 July 2012

Book Review – Fight for Liberty and Freedom: The origins of Australian Aboriginal activism | Stumbling Through the Past

Professor John Maynard has revealed a little-known but significant Aboriginal movement in New South Wales during the 1920s that effectively protested against the government removing Aboriginal children from their families and the eviction of Aboriginal farmers from the land they owned. This book review is my contribution to the Indigenous Literature Week (1-8 July). Continue reading →

twitterstorians 2 July 2012

Violent Victorians: Popular Entertainment in Nineteenth-Century London | Reviews in History

Rosalind Crone’s Violent Victorians is the kind of book that should be on every undergraduate reading list for 19th-century studies. The intricacies of class, of the multi-faceted character of a modernising society, and of the many faces of urban

historyteacher 30 June 2012

Scientific histories: debates among Victorian historians | teleskopos - Rebekah Higgitt
In my last post, which mused on different kinds of veracity in history, I mentioned the book that I am reviewing today: Ian Hesketh’s The Science of History in Victorian Britain: Making the Past Speak, published by Pickering Chatto last year in the same series as my own book. It focuses on British historiography of the second half of the 19th century, in particular the claims made about possible scientific approaches to history, contrasted with more literary forms, in the process of its profess…  »

histscimedtech 29 June 2012

A Social History of Knowledge. Volume II: From the Encyclopédie to Wikipedia | Reviews in History

‘I wish I knew a history was a history,’ remarks Gertrude Stein in A Geographical History of America. That might be because ‘history is the state of confusion between anybody doing anything and anything happening’.(1) An oblique

twitterstorians 27 June 2012

Book Review: Huygens–The Man Behind the Principle by C.D. Andriesse – SomeBeans

This post is a review of C.D. Andriesse’s biography “Huygens: The Man Behind the Principle”. Huygens Principle concerns the propagation of light but he carried out a wide range of research, including work on clocks, Saturn (discovering its moon “Titan” and hypothesizing the existence of its rings), buoyancy, circular motion, collisions, musical scales and pendulums. Huygens has made passing appearances in my blog posts on the French Académie des Sciences, on telescopes and also on clocks. On the  »

histscimedtech 24 June 2012

BOOK REVIEW: The Humblebee Hunter | The Dispersal of Darwin

In books for children, Charles Darwin is generally depicted as an old man, a wise and respected gentleman. In more recent years, there have been many books that focus on Darwin during the voyage of HMS Beagle, and they show him as a curious young man, an explorer and collector, traversing exotic locales. For those wishing for a book about Darwin as he was in between young and old, as a middle-aged man at the time he wrote On the Origin of Species, then you must check out The Humblebee Hunter, I…  »

histscimedtech 24 June 2012

The Oxford Handbook of the History of Medicine | Reviews in History

The Oxford Handbook of the History of Medicine appears at a critical moment for medical history; in a period when its practitioners are being forced to re-evaluate their aims and agendas in the face of shifting funding priorities and disciplinary angst.

histscimedtech 24 June 2012

Modern Women in China and Japan: Gender, Feminism and Global Modernity between the Wars | LSE Review of Books - brumley
At the dawn of the 1930s a new empowered image of the female was taking root in popular culture in the West, also challenging the Chinese and Japanese historical norm of the woman as homemaker or geisha in the East. Through a focus on the writings of the Western women who engaged with the Far East, this book reveals the complex redefining of the self taking place in a time of political and economic upheaval. An appealing read for those interested in gender, cultural exchange and cultural borrow…  »

twitterstorians 20 June 2012

Curiosity: How Science Became Interested in Everything by Philip Ball – review | Books | The Guardian

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@violetbluebird: A ‘wonderfully nuanced & wise study of the scientific revolution’ | review of Philip Ball’s ‘Curiosity’
@beckyfh on Twitter
@beckyfh: A ‘wonderfully nuanced & wise study of the scientific revolution’ | review of Philip Ball’s ‘Curiosity’
@rmathematicus on Twitter
@rmathematicus: RT @jameswilsdon A ‘wonderfully nuanced & wise study of the scientific revolution’ | review Philip Ball’s ‘Curiosity’
@stevesilberman on Twitter
@stevesilberman: Review of Philip Ball’s new book on the birth of scientific curiosity in the 17th C.

broadsides 10 June 2012

PhiloBiblos: Book Review: "Art and Anatomy in Renaissance Italy"

Art and Anatomy in Renaissance Italy (Metropolitan Museum of Art / Yale University Press, 2012), a reprint of an issue of the Met’s Bulletin, is a 46-page illustrated essay by Domenico Laurenza, a historian of science who spent several years as a fellow at the Met studying the museum’s collections of anatomical drawings, manuscripts, and printed books. Laurenza subtitles his essay "Images from a Scientific Revolution," and, using examples mostly drawn from the Met’s collections, explores the w…  »
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@fleming77: RT @MagBaroque: Book Review: "Art and Anatomy in Renaissance Italy"
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@MagBaroque: Book Review: "Art and Anatomy in Renaissance Italy"

broadsides 3 June 2012

My Sister Rosalind Franklin by Jenifer Glynn – review | Books | The Guardian

Why does the woman behind the discovery of DNA’s structure still not get the recognition she deserves, asks Peter Forbes

histscimedtech 29 May 2012

Book Review: The History of Clocks & Watches by Eric Bruton » SomeBeans

Earlier, it was telescopes, now I’m on to clocks! Here I review Eric Bruton’s book “The History of Clocks & Watches”. I came to it via an edition of the Radio 4 programme “In Our Time” on the measurement of time (here). The book was originally published in 1979, the edition I read was from 2002. I mention this because there is some evidence that the text has not been fully updated. 1 Earliest clocks The book starts with a slightly cursory look at the use of the sun to measure time, and mentions…  »

histscimedtech 29 May 2012

U.S. Intellectual History: Book Review: Seal on Horowitz’s Consuming Pleasures

Review of Daniel Horowitz’s Consuming Pleasures: Intellectuals and Popular Culture in the Postwar World (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012). ISBN: 9780812243956. 491 pages. Reviewed by Andrew Seal Yale University The book under review is the third that Daniel Horowitz has published on consumer culture in the United States, and it both is and isn’t useful to think of it as part of a trilogy, along with The Morality of Spending: Attitudes Toward the Consumer Society in Americ…  »

twitterstorians 26 May 2012

Being Boys: Youth, Leisure and Identity in the Inter-War Years | Reviews in History

The history of Britain during the two inter-war decades could be characterised by reference to a process by which, while the nation still clung to many of its pre-1914 imperial certainties (which in many ways still defined British identity), society was

twitterstorians 25 May 2012

How not to write about Renaissance mathematics | The Renaissance Mathematicus

This is a book review. It is a review of Mark A. Peterson’s Galileo’s Muse: Renaissance Mathematics and the Arts (Harvard University Press, 2011) that I have to admit I’m writing with some reluctance. Why? I’m writing this review with some reluctance because it is going to be an extremely negative review. Now regular readers of this blog are probably asking themselves, “is he ill?” “There’s nothing the Renaissance Mathematicus likes more than putting the boot in, so why not now?” These would of…  »

histscimedtech 24 May 2012

Bernard Porter reviews ‘Africa as a Living Laboratory’ by Helen Tilley · LRB 10 May 2012

British imperialism may have been oversold. Anti-imperialists tend to blame it for most of the problems of the modern world; a rather smaller band of apologists credits it with spreading modernity. These views are not incompatible: either way it is seen as crucial. Most of the popular . . .

histscimedtech 21 May 2012

A People’s History of Environmentalism in the United States | Reviews in History

The main theme of this book is American environmentalism and the development of the modern environmental movement. Starting with the standard narrative for the development of this movement, Chad Montrie lays out in chronological order how it is

histscimedtech 15 May 2012

Book review: Measure of the Earth by Larrie D. Ferreiro – SomeBeans » SomeBeans

This post is a review and summary of Larrie D. Ferreiro’s book “Measure of the Earth” which describes the French Geodesic Mission to South America to measure the length of a degree of latitude at the equator. The action takes place in the 2nd quarter of the 18th century, the Mission left France in 1735 with the first of its members returning to Europe in 1744. The book fits together with The Measure of All Things by Ken Alder, which is about the later French effort to measure a meridian through…  »
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@rmathematicus: RT @SmallCasserole Book Review Measure of the Earth by L D. Ferreiro //measuring 1° of latitude in Ecuador early 18th c
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@beckyfh: Book Review: Measure of the Earth by Larrie D. Ferreiro //measuring a degree of latitude in Ecuador, early 18th c
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@SmallCasserole: Book Review: Measure of the Earth by Larrie D. Ferreiro //measuring a degree of latitude in Ecuador, early 18th c

broadsides 13 May 2012

Seat of Power - By BILL CLINTON
The fourth volume of Robert Caro’s series on Lyndon Johnson starts shortly before the 1960 presidential election and ends a few months after John F. Kennedy’s assassination.
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@phillydesign: #42: President @BillClinton RT @nytjim Unusual byline for review of Robert Caro’s new LBJ book. @NYTimes: Seat of Power
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@digiphile: #42: President @BillClinton RT @nytjim Unusual byline for review of Robert Caro’s new LBJ book. @NYTimes: Seat of Power
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@chutry: Bill Clinton’s review of Caro’s latest, The Passage of Power
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@magicandrew: Unusual home page byline for review of Robert Caro’s new LBJ book. NYTimes: Seat of Power
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@mathewi: RT @nytjim: Unusual home page byline for review of Robert Caro’s new LBJ book. NYTimes: Seat of Power
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@lwaltzer: You can sense the arousal MT @Chanders: Clinton’s review of Caro’s LBJ tells us as much about him as it does Caro/LBJ.
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@Chanders: Not surprisingly, Bill Clinton’s review of Caro’s LBJ book tells us as much about Clinton as it does Caro or LBJ.
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@hangingnoodles: "In sparkling detail…shows the…genius" MT @thegarance: RT @j_fuller: Bill Clinton, NYT book reviewer:
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@nytimes: ‘The Passage of Power,’ Robert Caro’s New L.B.J. Book

broadsides 5 May 2012

Prosopography of Anglo-Saxon England | Reviews in History

Anglo-Saxon historians are in an enviable position when it comes to electronic resources. We already have a host of helpful websites at our fingertips: the Electronic Sawyer (, Kemble (,

twitterstorians 5 May 2012

The Herschels: A Scientific Family | Dissertation Reviews - Barbara J. Becker
A review of The Herschels: A Scientific Family in Training, by Emily Winterburn. William Herschel and his family have long been subjects of interest for historians and popularizers. The Herschels were blessed with uncommon longevity: two event-filled centuries elapsed from the time of William’s birth in 1738 to the death of his youngest grandchild in 1939. The lives of the notable among them (William, his sister Caroline and son John) were rife with exciting tales of adventure, discovery and ro…  »

histscimedtech 3 May 2012

The Sugar Barons: Family, Corruption, Empire and War | Reviews in History

A brief survey of the recent academic literature on global history reveals an academy that is still trying to define a historiographical movement. Definitions abound, ranging from the vague – connecting world history, international history,

historyteacher 28 April 2012

Book Review: Stargazers by Fred Watson – SomeBeans » SomeBeans

This post is a review of “Stargazers:The Life and Times of the Telescope” by Fred Watson. It traces the history, and development of the telescope from a little before its invention in 1608 to the present day. The book begins its historical path with Tycho Brahe, a Danish astronomer who lived 1546-1601. He built an observatory, Uraniborg, on the Danish island of Hven in view of his patron, King Frederick II of Denmark. Brahe’s contribution to astronomy were the data which were to lead to Johannes  »
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@beckyfh: Book Review: Stargazers by Fred Watson //a readable history of telescopes #histsci
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@rmathematicus: RT @SmallCasserole Book Review: Stargazers by Fred Watson //a readable history of telescopes #histsci
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@SmallCasserole: Book Review: Stargazers by Fred Watson //a readable history of telescopes #histsci

broadsides 20 April 2012

The Capital and the Colonies: London and the Atlantic Economy, 1660-1700 | Reviews in History

Nuala Zahedieh’s The Capital and the Colonies explains the rise of London to preeminence in the Atlantic economy. Between 1660 and 1700, Londoners used their considerable political and economic advantages to shape a commercial system that fostered

historyteacher 16 April 2012

Book Review – The Paper War by Anna Johnston | Stumbling Through the Past

The residents of Sydney Town in the first half of the 19th century were often engaged in disputes with their fellow setlers. Using the documents relating to a controversial missionary author, Anna Johnston, gains a greater understanding about the behaviour of the missionary and his contemporaries. In her book, The Paper War, she shares with her readers some of the techniques that historians use when exploring documents in an archive to gain an understanding of life in the past. This is a book r…  »

twitterstorians 15 April 2012

Book Review: Voyagers of the Titanic | A Blog About History – History News - Trent Overby
Book review by Trent Overby: Voyagers of the Titanic: Passengers, Sailors, Shipbuilders, Aristocrats, and the Worlds They Came From tells the story of the people involved with the Titanic, from its inception to its sinking, rather than focusing on the accident itself. Richard Davenport-Hines delves into the lives of those who created this ‘unsinkable leviathan,’ those who traveled on the world’s most luxurious liner, and those whose lives were lost while in the pursuit of a better life in Ameri…  »
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@archaeologynews: Book Review: Voyagers of the Titanic: Book review by Trent Overby: Voyagers of the Titanic: Passengers, Sailors…

broadsides 14 April 2012

U.S. Intellectual History: Book Review: Beuttler on Schultz’s Tri-Faith America

Review of Kevin Schultz’s Tri-Faith America: How Catholics and Jews Held Postwar America to Its Protestant Promise (New York City: Oxford University Press, 2011). ISBN: 9780195331769. 264 pages. Reviewed by Fred Beuttler Carroll University America as a “Protestant” Nation? A few years ago I was at a conference on religion and neuroscience and was arguing with a German theologian over which of our two countries was more democratic. We went back and forth on various aspects of our respective …  »

twitterstorians 13 April 2012

Book Review of The Last Pagan: Julian the Apostate and the Death of the Ancient World by Adrian Murdoch

Book Review of The Last Pagan – Informative and well-written the Last Pagan will surely be the definitive book on Julian for some time to come. It is a biography worthy to grace any Romanophiles study.
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@DorothyKing: Book Review of The Last Pagan: Julian the Apostate and the Death of the Ancient World by Adrian Murdoch via @UNRV
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@adrianmurdoch: Book Review of The Last Pagan: Julian the Apostate and the Death of the Ancient World by Adrian Murdoch via @UNRV

broadsides 8 April 2012

Performing Medicine: Medical Culture and Identity in Provincial England, c.1760-1850 | Reviews in History

Performing Medicine, an exploration of the transformation of the cultures, values and meanings of medicine across the late 18th and early 19th centuries, constitutes a new and welcome contribution to the historiography of medical life and the creation of

twitterstorians 30 March 2012

U.S. Intellectual History: Book Review: Cox On The American Bourgeoisie

Review of Sven Beckert and Julia B. Rosenbaum, Editors, The American Bourgeoisie: Distinction and Identity in the Nineteenth Century. Studies in Cultural and Intellectual History, Palgrave Macillan: New York City, 2011. Reviewed by Nicholas P. Cox University of Houston “Who in the world today, especially in the realm of culture, defends the bourgeoisie?” -Daniel Bell, The Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism (1976) If Sven Beckert and Julia B. Rosenbaum, editors of The American Bourgeoisi…  »

twitterstorians 30 March 2012

Book Review: The Great Arc by John Keay – SomeBeans » SomeBeans

This is a review of “The Great Arc: The Dramatic Tale of How India Was Mapped and Everest Was Named” by John Keay. This book does exactly what it says in the lengthy subtitle: describe the Great Triangulation Survey of India which was conducted in the first half of the 19th century. It fits together with “Map of a Nation” by Rachel Hewitt and “The Measure of All Things” By Ken Alder. The former describes the detailed mapping of the United Kingdom by the Ordnance Survey, whilst the later describ…  »
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@rmathematicus: Book review by @SmallCasserole "The Great Arc" by John Keay triangulation survey of India, Mount Everest and geodesy
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@beckyfh: Book review: The Great Arc by John Keay triangulation survey of India, Mount Everest and geodesy #histsci
@SmallCasserole on Twitter
@SmallCasserole: Book review: The Great Arc by John Keay triangulation survey of India, Mount Everest and geodesy #histsci

broadsides 27 March 2012

The Role of Dogs in Darwin’s Scientific Career | Dissertation Reviews - Philip Howell
A review of The Hunter’s Gaze: Charles Darwin and the Role of Dogs and Sport in Nineteenth Century Natural History, by David Allan Feller. In The Hunter’s Gaze: Charles Darwin and the Role of Dogs and Sport in Nineteenth Century Natural History, David Feller analyzes the role of dogs in the formation of Darwin’s scientific career and the formulation of his theories. Feller argues that Darwin acquired all that he needed from the dogs with which he shared his life, from his earliest years in the …  »

histscimedtech 22 March 2012

Book Review: Decoding the Heavens by Jo Marchant – SomeBeans » SomeBeans

“Decoding the Heavens” by Jo Marchant is the story of the Antikythera Mechanism, a mechanical astronomical calculator dating from around 100BC which predicts the motions of heavenly bodies including the sun, moon and various planets. The best way to understand how the device worked is through videos relating to this book (here) and, rather more slickly (here). The Antikythera Mechanism was recovered off the coast of the island which provides its name in 1900. The wreck from which it was recover…  »
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@rmathematicus: Review of @JoMarchant‘s Decoding the Heavens (on the Antikythera mechanism) by @SmallCasserole
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@fleming77: RT @SmallCasserole: Book review: Decoding the Heavens by @JoMarchant on the Antikythera Mechanism #histsci
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@SmallCasserole: @crafthole @beckyfh @rmathematicus my review of Decoding the Heavens (on the Antikythera mechanism)
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@SmallCasserole: Book review: Decoding the Heavens by @JoMarchant on the Antikythera Mechanism #histsci

broadsides 20 March 2012

Book Review: Fatal Self-Deception –

Fergus M. Bordewich reviews Fatal Self-Deception: Slaveholding Paternalism in the Old South by Eugene D. Genovese and Elizabeth Fox-Genovese.
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@opheliacat: Fergus Bordewich reviews Eugene and Elizabeth-Fox Genovese’s book, Fatal Self-Deception #cw150
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@KevinLevin: Fergus Bordewich reviews Eugene and Elizabeth-Fox Genovese’s book, Fatal Self-Deception #cw150
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@DorothyKing: It’s fascinating, as Southern slavery was very different to Roman slavery -Delusions of the Master Class via @WSJ

broadsides 18 March 2012

The Future of History | Reviews in History

In The Future of History Alan Munslow tackles the big problem facing historians in the 21st century, the problem of whether history as we know it has a future and, if not, what historians should do about that. Munslow sees the main problem as

twitterstorians 9 March 2012

‘Nature’ and Scientific Community, 1869-1939 | Dissertation Reviews

A review of Nature and the Making of a Scientific Community, 1869-1939, by Melinda Baldwin. Melinda Baldwin’s dissertation provides a fascinating history of the early years of the scientific journal Nature, beginning with its creation in 1869 by Sir Norman Lockyer and ending with the retirement of its second editor Sir Richard Arman Gregory in 1939. Challenging our awareness of Nature’s prominent place in the sciences today, Baldwin historicizes the complicated process by which the publication …  »
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@beckyfh: Oh! Forgot @Melinda_Baldwin was on Twitter. Her dissertation on the journal ‘Nature’ 1869-1939 reviewed here #histsci
@rmathematicus on Twitter
@rmathematicus: New on Dissertation Reviews: ‘Nature’ & the Making of a Scientific Community, 1869-1939, by Melinda Baldwin #histsci
@beckyfh on Twitter
@beckyfh: This thesis on the journal Nature 1869-1939, provides background for all those posts on science & publishing! #elsevier
@beckyfh on Twitter
@beckyfh: New on Dissertation Reviews: ‘Nature’ & the Making of a Scientific Community, 1869-1939, by Melinda Baldwin #histsci
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@NatureNews: RT @beckyfh: On Dissertation Reviews: ‘Nature’ & the Making of a Scientific Community, 1869-1939, by Melinda Baldwin

broadsides 24 February 2012