NEW BOOKS: History. Other Places.

Castles; Their History and Evolution in Medieval Britain by Marc Morris. Pegasus, 2017. Britain’s castles – who built them, who lived in them, and why.

Four Princes; Henry VIII, Francis I, Charles V, Suleiman the Magnificent by John Norwich. All were born in the last decade of the fifteenth century and they collectively shaped Europe and the Middle East in the next.

Russia; The Story of War by Gregory Carleton. Harvard University Press, 2017. It should be remembered that Russians have long thought of themselves as surrounded by enemies, fighting off invader after invader, and yet at the same time destined to play the role as the guardian of Europe.

Far-Right Politics in Europe by Jean-Yves Camus, et alii. Harvard University Press, 2017. There are similarities between those challenges posed by the right wing and its ideologies – nationalism, socialism, anti-Semitism – and the authoritarianism following WWI and the present.

Holy Rus’; The Rebirth of Orthodoxy in the New Russia by John Bugess. Yale University Press, 2017. After a century of militant, atheistic communism, the Orthodox Church is reasserting itself and at the same time helping to restore a civic culture.

The Invention of Russia; From Gorbachev’s Freedom to Putin’s War by Arkady Ostrovsky. Penguin, 2017 paper. From the opportunities created by the breakup of the Soviet Union under Mikhail Gorbachev to the counter revolution in the hands of Vladimir Putin.

The Rise of Athens; The Story of the World’s Greatest Civilization by Anthony Everitt. Random House, 2017. “Greatest” becomes “most influential” in the dust jacket copy. Better; fewer historians would quarrel with the latter.

Hannibal by Patrick Hunt. Simon & Schuster, 2017. Hannibal Barca was born in Carthage. Long a rival to Rome, Hannibal led an army across North Africa and then Spain to confront the Romans in their home base.

Hannibal’s Oath; The Life and Wars of Rome’s Greatest Enemy by John Prevas. Da Capo, 2017. Hannibal the man and military leader, his ultimate failure and humiliation at the hands of the Romans.

The Scientist in the Early Roman Empire by Richard Carrier. Pitchstone, 2017 paper. Social history of scientists in the Roman era. What was an ancient scientist thought to be and to be doing?

The Trouble with Tea; The Politics of Consumption in the Eighteenth-Century Global Economy by Jane Merritt. Johns Hopkins University Press, 2017 paper. Attitudes toward tea imports and its taxation reflects American views of its colonial master, Great Britain.

Among the Living and the Dead; A Tale of Exile and Homecoming on the War Roads of Europe by Inara Verzemnieks. W.W. Norton, 2017. Latvians and Latvian-Americans revisiting a contested borderland during World War II.

The Euro; How a Common Currency Threatens the Future of Europe by Joseph Stiglitz. W.W. Norton, 2017 paper. Critical of the role of a common currency, in part because Stiglitz doesn’t agree with the austerity formulas they are using to discipline its members.

How to Read a Dress; A Guide to Changing Fashion from the Sixteenth to the Twentieth Century by Lydia Edwards, Bloomsbury Academic, 2017 paper. I always imagined fashion to be a whim, rather than an analytic.

Must We Divide History Into Periods? By Jaques Le Goff & Malcolm DeBevoise. Columbia University Press, 2017 paper. He illustrates this quandary with how to separate the Renaissance and the Middle Ages (sometimes referred to as the Dark Age). He suggests various ways to resolve the naming phobia.

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