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Reviews in History - New British History Reviews for May

Published: August 23, 2012

The following reviews of possible interest to readers of the British and Irish Studies Intelligencer were published in May in the Institute of Historical Research’s e-journal Reviews in History.

Firstly Drew Gray reviews (no. 897, with the editor’s response) a resource which since its inception in 2003 has proved to be a time-saving boon for social historian, The Old Bailey Proceedings Online.

Our next review (no. 898, by Jennifer Cole) is of After the Bomb: Civil Defence and Nuclear War in Britain, 1945–68 by Matthew Grant. This looks at the evolution in post-war Britain of the policy of civil defence. It draws on recently declassified documents to show that though anti-nuclear campaigners didn't succeed in banning the bomb, they did play a significant part in exposing flaws in the central tenet of this policy, namely that a nuclear war could be survived.

The emergence of material culture as a subject for historical enquiry has brought to the fore the question of what constitute 'proper' sources for 'proper' history. Amanda Vickery's new book Behind Closed Doors. At Home in Georgian England combines the old and the new, utilising both an 'impressive array of original archival evidence' and 'kaleidoscopic range of material sources'. Read Helen Berry's review (no. 901) and the author's response.

Elsewhere, Oliver Blaiklock reviews (no. 900) a valuable contribution not just to the study of voluntary organisations and charities, but more broadly to the history of British civil society and citizenship, Kate Bradley’s Poverty, Philanthropy and the State: Charities and the Working Classes in London.

Nick Holder has written a monumental review of the fifteen paperback books on English local history produced by the England's Past for Everyone project, which aim to take the authoritative research tradition of the red Victoria County History volumes and package it in a more accessible and contemporary format. Read his review (no. 904) and VCH Director John Beckett’s response.

Finally Keith Lilley sets out to educate historians of medieval urbanism with a detailed account of medieval ideas on the city as macro- or microcosm, City and Cosmos: the Medieval World in Urban Form, reviewed (no. 906, with a response by the author) by Frances Andrews

A list of all our British and Irish history reviews can be found here.

As always, all comments or suggestions should be sent to danny.millum@sas.ac.uk.

Danny Millum
Deputy Editor, Reviews in History

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