Tuesday, 1 June 2010

June selection of books for reader review

Every month, we offer our readers the opportunity to review some of the latest history publications and to have their review published on the History Today Books Blog. Here is our selection for June. To submit a review, please send an email to Kathryn Hadley (k.hadley[at]historytoday.com) specifying your choice of book. We will then send you the book with a one-month deadline to send us your review. Books will be sent on a first come first served basis. (Unfortunately, we are unable to send out books to the USA).

Forgotten Voices of Dunkirk, Joshua Levine (Ebury)
Drawing on material from the Imperial War Museum Sound Archive, an account of Operation Dynamo and the evacuation of Dunkirk in the words of both the rescuers and those rescued.

Murder in the Metro, Gayle K. Brunelle and Annette Finley-Croswhite (Louisiana State University Press)
In 1936, the Italian immigrant and spy Laetitia Toureaux infiltrated the French secret right-wing organisation known as the Cagoule, which sought to overthrow France’s Third Republic. In May 1937, she was murdered in the Paris Metro. This account of Toureaux’s life and murder assesses her complex identity within the popular culture and turbulent politics of 1930s France.

Hoboes: Bindlestiffs, Fruit Tramps and the Harvesting of the West, Mark Wyman (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
The story of the lives of hoboes, the transient harvest workers who worked in the Garden West, the vast expanse of territory which was developed following the expansion of the railroad across the American West in the 1870s.

The Media and the Far Right in Western Europe, Antonis A. Ellinas (Cambridge University Press)
This book examines the interplay of party and media behaviour, in particular how political parties and the mass media have dealt with growing public concerns over national identity, to explain the rise of Far Right parties in Austria, Germany, Greece and France since the 1980s.

American Insurgents, American Patriots, T.H. Breen (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
This account of the insurgency of ordinary Americans, who mobilised against British imperial authority two years before the Declaration of Independence, places them at the heart of the fight for American independence revealing a lesser known side to the story of American political origins.

The University of Oxford, G.R. Evans (I.B. Tauris)
The latest instalment of G.R. Evans’ major two-volume history of the rival institutions of Oxford and Cambridge, a history of the University of Oxford from its foundation in the late 12th century, to the political upheavals caused by the radical ideas of John Wyclif and John Ruskin’s innovative lectures on art.

For Business & Pleasure, Mara L. Keire (The John Hopkins University Press)
This survey of the business of pleasure in the United States, from the 1890s to the repeal of Prohibition in 1933, considers the popular culture that developed within red-light districts, as well as efforts to contain vice in cities such as New Orleans, New York City, San Francisco and El Paso.

When Money was in Fashion, June Fischer (Palgrave Macmillan)
This biography by Henry Goldman’s granddaughter traces his career with Goldman Sachs, a firm founded by Henry’s father Marcus and passed on to his brother-in-law Samuel Sachs, and charts the growth of Goldman Sachs from a small commercial paper company to the international banking business it is today.

God’s Philosophers, James Hannam (Icon Books)
This account of medieval scientific discovery presents the Middle Ages as an era of rapid technological change during which the mechanical clock, compass, printing press and gunpowder were invented, for example, and debunks the popular belief that the Church restricted scientific enquiry and development.

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