Monday, 22 February 2010

Review and win one of the latest history books

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 February. To submit a review, please send an email to Kathryn Hadley (k.hadley[at] 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).

Mother of God: A History of the Virgin Mary, Miri Rubin (Penguin)
A study of how Mary’s status has evolved – in religious writings, art and architecture and at vast public festivals - from virtual unknown to virginal icon and ultimately God-like figure, as Christianity established itself as a global faith over the centuries.

Choose Your Weapons, Douglas Hurd (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)
Beginning with the last ministerial duel in British political history between Castlereagh and Canning, this history of the British foreign policy and the role of Foreign Secretary from 1807 to 1956 focuses on eleven Foreign Secretaries, including Lord Salisbury, Anthony Eden, Austen Chamberlain and Sir Edward Grey.

Hitler, Ian Kershaw (Penguin)
A single edition paperback of the author’s two-part biography of Hitler first published in 1998, which traces the story of how an art student from an obscure corner of Austria rose to unparalleled power and destroyed the lives of millions.

The Cambridge Companion to Tacitus, ed. A. J. Woodman (Cambridge University Press)
An assessment of the work and influence of Tacitus, whose account of the Roman Empire in the first century AD has been fundamental in shaping the modern perception of Rome and its emperors.

The Empathic Civilization: The Race to Global Consciousness in a World in Crisis, Jeremy Rifkin (Polity)
This new interpretation of the history of civilisation considers the evolution of empathy and the ways in which it has shaped our development and is likely to determine our fate as a species, from the rise of the first great theological civilisations, to the ideological age that dominated the 18th and 19th centuries and the merging dramaturgical period of the 21st century.

The Wobbling Pivot, China Since 1800: An Interpretative History, Pamela Kyle Crossley (Wiley-Blackwell)
This history of China since the 18th century focuses on the delicate relationship between central government and local communities and reveals how developments can be explained through China’s swings between centralisation and decentralisation, between local initiative and central authoritarianism.

The Last Empress, Hannah Pakula (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)
The story of the life of Soon May-ling (1897-2003), or Madame Chiang Kai-shek as she was known, who, acting as the advisor, English translator, secretary and champion of her husband, was at the centre of the founding of modern China.

Who Was Jacques Derrida?, David Mikics (Yale University Press)
An intellectual biography of Jacques Derrida, a full-scale appraisal of his career, his influence and his philosophical sources, and the first attempt to define his crucial importance as the purveyor of ‘theory’, the phenomenon that has had a profound influence on academic life in the humanities.

Vietnam Declassified: The CIA and Counterinsurgency, Thomas L. Ahern Jr, (University Press of Kentucky)
A firsthand account of the CIA’s involvement in South Vietnam in an effort to combat the Viet Cong and earn the allegiance of South Vietnam’s rural population, which illuminates the basic flaws of the US government and CIA policies that directly contributed to the communist victory.

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