The World of Paperbacks

Contemporary Review, September 2012 | Go to article overview

The World of Paperbacks


CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS has issued paperback editions of the three volumes in The Cambridge History of the Cold War which appeared in hardback in 2010. The volumes, edited by Professors Melvyn P. Leffler and Odd Arne Westad deal with Origins in Volume I, Crises and Detente in Volume II and Endings in Volume HI. Each volume sells for [pounds sterling]22.99 or US$37.99. Among the volumes' greatest achievements two stand out: the first is the sheer range of contributors and topics which trace this long period in world history from its beginnings in the Second World War to the dismantling of the Soviets' Empire in the 1990s. The second is the overall balanced and sustained objectivity in a field in which it is all too easy to lessen one's historical work by taking sides. Another major undertaking is The New Cambridge History of English Literature and we have recently received the volume dealing with English Literature 1660-1780 ([pounds sterling]30.00 or US$50.00) edited by Prof. John Richetti. This collection of thirty essays begins with publishing and book-selling during this period and ends with an examination of literary changes in the mid-to-late eighteenth century. In between are essays on all major forms of literary endeavour while the mixture of the realities of publishing with the works published gives a truly comprehensive survey of the period. Other new titles from C.U.P. include: Thomas Bartlett's Ireland: A History (E17.99 or US$28.99), a very popular and readable study that combines balance with sympathy regarding a history that is fraught with controversies; Shannon L. Fogg's The Politics of Everyday Lift in Vichy France: Foreigners, Undesirables, and Strangers ([pounds sterling]19.99), a regional study that shows how complicated were the day-to-day politics within Vichy France; Prof. William E. Wallace's Michelangelo: The Artist, the Man, and His Times ([pounds sterling]16.99 or US$19.99) which seeks to separate the man from the myths surrounding him, some of his own making; and finally, a second edition of Philippa Mein Smith's A Concise History of New Zealand ([pounds sterling]18.99 or US$26.99)

YALE UNIVERSITY PRESS has brought out a paperback of Nigel Smith's Andrew Marvell: The Chameleon ([pounds sterling]16.99), a highly laudatory biography of the republican poet who praised regicides, hated Catholics and exposed in memorable verse corruption in those places he chose to investigate. We have also received two historical studies, Edmund King's King Stephen ([pounds sterling]15.99) in which the author uses his command of twelfth century history to give us the most perceptive portrait yet of an essentially weak man, and Prof. Michael Hicks' The Wars of the Roses ([pounds sterling]12.99), an important new look at the wars which if not 'identified with constitutional progress' were neither anomalous nor unimportant. In addition we have received: Frederick Brown's edition of Alexis de Tocqueville: Letters from America ([pounds sterling]16.99) which, as the first full edition of Tocqueville's letters written in 1831 makes an important contribution to our understanding both of him and of American life at the time; and, finally, Gulag Voices: An Anthology ([pounds sterling]12.99) edited by Anne Applebaum who uses these original documents to show one of the most evil aspects of that 'evil empire' in the words of those who suffered and survived.

From AURUM we have a reissue of Michael Korda's Hero: The Life and Legend of Lawrence of Arabia ([pounds sterling]12.99), another laudatory biography, as its title indicates, which gives readers a portrait of Lawrence which he himself would have liked.

COLLINS has published paperback editions of Duncan Barrett and Nuala Calvi's The Sugar Girls: Tales of Hardship. Hope and Happiness in Tate & Lyle 's East End ([pounds sterling]6.99), the moving tale of the young women employed in Tate & Lyle's Silvertown factory starting in the 1940s which gives readers an insight into life in the East End along with David Mason's edition of Len Smith's Drawing Fire: The Diary of a Great War Soldier and Artist ([pounds sterling]9. …

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