New and Noteworthy

Contemporary Review, May 2000 | Go to article overview

New and Noteworthy


What may be called the 'festival of remembrance' for the historian and philosopher, Isaiah Berlin, continues into the third year after his death. GRANTA Books have published The First and the Last ([pounds]12.00. 142 pages. ISBN 1-86207-2701) edited by Henry Hardy. This has the first of Berlin's writings, a story written when he was only twelve and before his family left Russia for Britain and the last thing he wrote, an essay on Western intellectual history for Chinese students. There are also appreciations by various friends.

The second new Berlin tide, also edited by Henry Hardy, comes from CHATTO AND WINDUS: The Power of Ideas ([pounds]20.00. 240 pages. ISBN 0-701-16871-4). This is a collection of Berlin's essays which range over a wide field, from a defence of Zionism to Russian Marxism and 'realism in politics.'

The historians' gold-mine which is Nazi Germany has recently yielded yet more nuggets. The first, from JOHN MURRAY, is Eric Johnson's The Nazi Terror: Gestapo, Jews and Ordinary Germans ([pounds]25.00. 636 pages. ISBN 0-7195-5581-7) first published in the US. He argues that the Third Reich was a police state whose citizens were kept in line by the Gestapo, but it was a state 'that allowed most of its citizens considerable room for their regular activities.' The book agrees recent views which hold that average Germans had a fairly good idea of what was going on.

A second new title on Jewish history, this time from CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS, is Louise London's Whitehall and the Jews 1933- 1948: British Immigration Policy and the Holocaust ([pounds]30.00/US$59.95. 313 pages. ISBN 0-521-63187-4) which discusses the United Kingdom's policy regarding Jewish immigrants. The author argues that the country's refugee policy was not as humane as it was later made out to be and that some genuine refugees were not allowed into the UK. Given the 100,000 plus so-called 'asylum-seekers' now pouring into the country each year, this book has taken on a timely quality.

Another CAMBRIDGE title is Mark Fullerton's Greek Art ([pounds] 11.95/US$18.95. 176 pages. ISBN 0-521-77973-1) which examines the 'political, social and religious functions of Greek art' in the Classical era, that is 480-323 BC. The numerous illustrations and the clearly written text serve as a superb introduction to the subject.

ROUTLEDGE remains one of this country's leading academic publishers and one of their specialities is international relations. This is seen in two new collections of essays. The first is Global Democracy: Key Debates ([pounds]17.99 p.b. 224 pages. ISBN 04154-19879-8) edited by Barry Holden. Contributors include the former Secretary-General of the UN, Boutros Boutros-Ghali and various scholars. The essays are papers first delivered at a conference on 'global democracy.' The second new title is Political Theory in Transition ([pounds]l6.99 p.b. 264 pages. ISBN 1-857-28855-6) edited by Neil O'Sullivan. The thirteen contributors discuss how political theories about the individual, the state and the EU changed after the end of the Cold War.

The role of sickness in history is often ignored by historians. To a considerable degree this ignorance was met in 1972 in a book by Frederick F. Cartwright and Michael Biddiss. This has now been thoroughly revised and reissued by SUTTON PUBLISHING as Disease and History ([pounds]20. …

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