Archive | August 2013

Recent publications

The fall semester looms, and with it frantic attempts to complete overdue summer projects and prepare for the new school year. In the meantime, lots of recent and forthcoming titles from Boydell & Brewer’s 2013 catalog. (Note the standard $90+ price tag). As usual, book titles and press abstracts are in italics.

  • The Irish Rebellion of 1641 and the Wars of the Three Kingdoms EAMON DARCY

This book investigates how the 1641 rebellion broke out and whether there was a meaning in the violence which ensued. It also seeks to understand how the English administration in Ireland portrayed these events to the wider world, and to examine whether and how far their claims were justified. It considers in particular the context of the Atlantic world, and asks whether the colonists drew upon similar cultural frameworks to describe atrocities in the Americas; how this shaped the portrayal of the 1641 rebellion in contemporary pamphlets; and the effect that this had on the wider Wars of the Three Kingdoms between England, Ireland and Scotland.

  • The Civil Wars after 1660: Public Remembering in Late Stuart England MATTHEW NEUFELD

This book examines the conflicting ways in which the civil wars and Interregnum were remembered, constructed and represented in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century England. It argues that during the late Stuart period, public remembering of the English civil wars and Interregnum was not concerned with re-fighting the old struggle but rather with commending and justifying, or contesting and attacking, the Restoration settlements. Drawing upon the interdisciplinary field of social memory studies, it offers a new perspective on the historical and political cultures of early modern England, and will be of significant interest to social, cultural and political historians as well as scholars working in memory studies.

Memory studies are on the march. Rather disconcertingly for the dwindling number of pure positivists among our ranks.

  • The Emergence of British Power in India: A Grand Strategic Interpretation G J BRYANT

This book analyses the evolving grand strategy of the British East India Company in India between 1600, when the Company was formed, and 1784, when the British Government took control of the Company’s political affairs. It shows why the Company became involved in the military and political penetration of India, and provides a political and military narrative of the Company’s involvement in the wars with France and with several Indian powers. 

  • The Emergence of Britain’s Global Naval Supremacy The War of 1739-1748 RICHARD HARDING

A detailed overview and operational history of Britain’s involvement in the war of 1739-48, including the campaigns in Flanders and Germany, and the naval and colonial wars, showing how Britain’s strategic thinking, military capability and planning changed over the course of the war.

  • The Birth of the Royal Marines, 1664-1802 BRITT ZERBE

This book traces the origins and early development of the Royal Marines, outlining their organisational structures, their recruitment and social background, the activities in which they were engaged, and how their distinctive identity was forged.

  • Britain and Colonial Maritime War in the Early Eighteenth Century: Silver, Seapower and the Atlantic SHINSUKE SATSUMA

In early modern Britain, there was an argument that war at sea, especially war in Spanish America, was an ideal means of warfare, offering the prospect of rich gains at relatively little cost
whilst inflicting considerable damage on enemy financial resources. This book provides a rich analysis of the debates, policy formulation and policy implementation connected with this issue, showing how proposals for war, seen by some as offering the prospect of rich gains at relatively little cost, were put forward, supported and opposed.

  • Ireland and the War at Sea, 1641-1653 ELAINE MURPHY

The conflict on the Irish seaboard between the years 1641 and 1653 was not some peripheral theatre in the Wars of the Three Kingdoms. It was instead the epicentre of naval conflict with important consequences for the nature and outcome of the land conflicts in Ireland and elsewhere. The book provides a clear and comprehensive narrative account of the war at sea, accompanied by careful contextualisation and a full analysis of its Irish, British and European dimensions. 

  • The British Navy, Economy and Society in the Seven Years War CHRISTIAN BUCHET

This book shows how the increasing efficiency of the Victualling Board enabled the navy to take advantage of agricultural, commercial and financial advances in the British economy to supply its front line fighting forces. It also shows how long-standing debates between those who favoured a state-controlled system and those who argued for the greater flexibility afforded by commercial contracting were resolved by developing a system which expertly balanced the two approaches. The author goes beyond maritime history to discuss how naval supply provided a huge stimulus for British finance, agriculture, trade and manufacturing, and argues that all this together was one of the principal causes of Britain’s later Industrial Revolution.

Looks like naval history is picking up steam. Or is it sail?

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Mind your 1s and 0s

Truly bizarre. Xerox scanner/copiers that subtly substitute numbers! Story here.

Makes you pine for the good ol’ days of Stalin’s airbrushing.

While I was away

I also forgot to mention this earth-shattering news:

That grande dame of the French historical establishment (initially a young upstart), Annales. Histoire, Sciences Sociales is now being published in … wait for it … ENGLISH!

Je suis sans voix.

While you were away

Or, more accurately, while I was away, I failed to blog on the following news stories:

  • BBC story on H.G. Wells and the beginning of modern war gaming here.
  • Looks like a renewed contest over Gibraltar is a-brewing – BBC story here. Hopefully the Spanish learned a thing or two from their 1704-1705 siege/blockade. I’m not sure the English of 1704 would’ve guessed that the “Rock” would be one of their most lasting imperial outposts.
All this over a piece of rock

All this over a piece of rock

Not to say I told you so…

but I told you so. (I’ll wait till you get back, and if you need a refresher, look here.) This is sounding more and more like a deal with the devil…

[Edit: link fixed]

Be sure to read the post’s comments. They’re informative and even helpful in a constructive kind of way. More than that, they clearly lay out the new normal: a divide between those who consider an academic historian’s book, you know, scholarship, and those who are looking to maximize sales for course adoption and a $21 price point for the Kindle version.

The market says eliminate the bibliography and the historiography. And if you have three pieces of evidence, you only need to mention one. Because, you know, proving a historical claim only requires a single example, and your readers should just take your word for it anyway.

Academic historians used to call things like historiography, bibliography and evidence their ‘scholarly apparatus’, but now the market seems to be dictating our scholarship as well.

But I’m not just a curmudgeon. I’ll make one constructive suggestion of my own: get rid of the excess citation fluff (which I’d thought publishers forced on us). Seriously, why the f**k do we need to know where a book was published?? When was the last time someone had to hop a steamer to London to pick up a copy? At least the publisher information in the citation tells us whether the cited work is a scholarly one or not, if it’s been published by an academic press. Oh, wait…

(I know, I know. I’m over the word count. I suppose I could eliminate the ellipses…)