World of Paperbacks
The U.S. publisher, HARRY N. ABRAMS has recently brought out two new additions to their highly praised Masters of Art series, titles first published in 1981: Jan Vermeer by Arthur K. Wheelock, Jnr. and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec by Douglas Cooper. Each volume is priced at [pounds sterling]13.95 and each is filled with high quality illustrations: 97 in the case of Vermeer and 102 in Toulouse-Lautrec and many are in colour. The text, in addition to discussing the artists' styles and approaches to art, also include background material to their social and historic roots. The continuing republication of this series, so useful as an introduction, is to be welcomed.
CASSELL has recently brought out a paperback edition of Anthony Clayton's highly praised Paths of Glory: the French Army 1914-18 ([pounds sterling]7.99). In this he pays tribute to the bravery of the French army, an army which both during the war and, after 1940, has been given less than due credit by its British allies.
From YALE UNIVERSITY PRESS we have a new edition of Prof. Eamon Duffy's The Stripping of the Altars: Traditional Religion in England 1400-1580 ([pounds sterling]15.99) which seeks both to describe English religion before the Reformation and the nature of that 'reformation' with all its destructive horrors. Prof. Duffy used his own background as an Irish Catholic to good effect and in so doing has influenced historical writing about the sixteenth century. This edition has a new Preface in which the author defends himself against his critics and discusses reactions to his book. Also, to mark the 200th anniversary of Trafalgar, Yale has re-published Edgar Vincent's 2003 biography, Nelson: Lover & Fame ([pounds sterling]9.99) in its Nota Bene series. The author made extensive use of surviving manuscripts to portray Nelson 'in all his paradoxical complexity'.
PIMLICO has republished Sir John Keegan's The Iraq War ([pounds sterling]8.99) in which the well-known military historian describes the Anglo-American overthrow of Saddam Hussein and introduction of 'democracy' to Iraq. The author has added a new postscript to bring the story up to the end of last year. An equally muddled military operation was the infamous fourth Crusade and this is described in Jonathan Phillips' The Fourth Crusade and the Sack of Constantinople ([pounds sterling]7.99) in which he shows how little simple moral outrage gets us in understanding what happened in 1204. On a less contentious level we have new editions of Ross King's Brunelleschi's Dome: The Story of the Great Cathedral in Florence ([pounds sterling]7.99) which describes the human drama behind the building of this famous dome, and Norma Clarke's Dr Johnson's Women ([pounds sterling]12.99) which describes the Great Panjandrum's relations with six leading female writers of his age: Elizabeth Carter, Charlotte Lennox, Elizabeth Montagu, Hester Thrale, Hannah More and Fanny Burney. It is both enjoyable and a corrective to stereotyped views of the 'plight' of women writers in the period.
JOHN MURRAY has republished Maureen Waller's London 1945: Life in the Debris of War ([pounds sterling]9.99), a fascinating look at London both in the final months of war and in the first months of peace, a period as difficult in its way as when the V-1s and V-2s were falling. …