The World of Paperbacks

Contemporary Review, July 2003 | Go to article overview

The World of Paperbacks


OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS has recently published a wide range of history paperbacks. In chronological order these include Prof. J. H. W. G. Liebeschuetz's Tire Decline and Fall of the Roman City ([pounds sterling]25.00), a fascinating study of the city's role in the years leading to the end of the Roman Empire and its legacy to the post-imperial world. The second new title is R. W. Hoyle's exhaustive study, The Pilgrimage of Grace and the Politics of the 1530s ([pounds sterling]17.00), which argues that Henry VIII both brought about and then prolonged the rebellions that shook his Throne. After this we have Nicholas Canny's Making Ireland British 1580-1650 ([pounds sterling]19.99), a meticulous examination of the doomed attempts to make Catholic Ireland into a Protestant kingdom. Next is J. M. Beattie's Policing and Punishment in London, 1660-1750 ([pounds sterling]25.00), first published in 2001. This is a pioneering work that shows how London influenced the nation in a period that saw far more changes in the criminal law than has hitherto been acknowledged. Following this is a second edition of William Doyle's The Oxford History of the French Revolution ([pounds sterling]14.99) in which the author has made minor changes whilst sticking to his view that the revolution was a tragedy because it wasted the reformers' original hopes. The penultimate history title is a third edition of Robert Gildea's Barricades and Borders: Europe 1800-1914 ([pounds sterling]18.99), part of the 'Short Oxford History of the Modern World'. The author has taken this opportunity to update certain sections, to clarify his argument at certain points, to bring the bibliography up to date and to add a chronology of events, genealogical tables of reigning dynasties and a table of chief ministers. The final title, this time published by Oxford's CLARENDON PRESS, is Bruce Kuklick's A History of Philosophy in America 1720-2000 ([pounds sterling]12.99) which argues that idealism has always played a dominant role in the history of American thought.

From SUTTON PUBLISHING we have three new diaries which shed light on important eras in our island's history. In chronological order, the first is The Diaries of Lady Anne Clifford edited by her descendant, D. J. H. Clifford and first published by Sutton in 1990. Lady Anne (1590-1676) led a fascinating life, from her time at Court as the Countess of Dorset to her death as the Countess of Pembroke. These accounts give us a first hand insight into life in Stuart England. The second publication, The Diary of a Cotswold Parson is that kept by the Rev. (not Rev.) F. E. Witts from 1820 to 1854 and here edited by David Verey. Francis Witts (1783-1854) lived at Upper Slaughter in Gloucestershire and his diary gives us a unique insight into the world of the rural incumbent, the world so vividly described by Anthony Trollope. Both volumes are priced at [Pounds sterling]7.99. The third new book is Mr Brown's War: A Diary of the Second World War ([Pounds sterling]10.99) edited by Helen D. Millgate. Richard Brown was a dra ughtsman in Ipswich and kept a diary from 1939 to 1946 in which he recorded daily the effects of the war on an average family and town: by its very ordinariness it gives us a unique insight to life on the home front. A final new release from Sutton is Clive Gamble's Timewalkers: The Prehistory of Global Colonization ([Pounds sterling]12.99) published in hardback in 1993. It remains a fascinating study of the spread of mankind over the globe.

CONTINUUM has brought out a paperback edition of Jonathan Sacks' The Dignity of Difference: How to Avoid the Clash of Civilizations ([Pounds sterling]7. …

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