What Are You Reading?

Times Higher Education, January 5, 2012 | Go to article overview

What Are You Reading?


A weekly look over the shoulders of our scholar-reviewers.

John Benson, emeritus professor of history, University of Wolverhampton, has been rereading Brian Lewis' Coal Mining in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries (Longman, 1971). "This slim volume was published 40 years ago as part of a series intended to encourage a 'method of teaching ... being used increasingly in VI forms and at universities'. Despite its age and seeming modesty of ambition, it remains a valuable introduction to the rise and fall of Britain's coal industry. Indeed, Lewis pointed out to a new generation of coal-mining historians that 'George Stephenson once said that the Chancellor of England should give up his woolsack and sit instead on a sack of coals.'"

James Stevens Curl, a member of The Royal Irish Academy, is reading Terry Friedman's The Eighteenth-Century Church in Britain (Yale University Press, 2011). "This massive book, packed with pictures and an almost incredible amount of information, deals not only with churches but with synagogues and Dissenters' meeting-houses, and also covers repairs, additions and alterations. It is testimony to immense industry and scholarship. Although the index is rudimentary and some modern photographs are distorted, this book is a noble achievement."

Ivor Gaber, professor of political journalism, City University London, and research professor in media and politics, University of Bedfordshire, is reading Andrew Hosken's Ken: The Ups and Downs of Ken Livingstone (Arcadia, 2008). …

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