Month: November 2019

Appeasement 80 years on

A discussion in the ‘Arguing History’ series for the New Books Network.

According to one dictionary definition, the term means: “to yield or concede to the belligerent demands of (a nation, group, person, etc.) in a conciliatory effort, sometimes at the expense of justice or other principles”. Of course when one employs this term in a historical context, it is usually taken to refer to the ‘Appeasement’ by Great Britain of the Fascist powers during the 1930s.  In this latest edition of ‘Arguing History’, Professor of History Jeremy Black and Dr. Charles Coutinho of the Royal Historical Society, discuss the historical nature of appeasement and endeavor to go beyond the reductionist and ahistorical picture so popular with some historians and much of the reading public. Going beyond the sloganeering that originated with Michael Foot’s The Guilty Men, and more recent tomes like Tim Bouverie’s Appeasement, this discussion of  the topic endeavors to examine at length the underlying variables which factored into British policy in the 1930s.

Listen to the podcast on the New Books Network website.

A Brief History of Spain

Wonderfully concise and very readable, A Brief History of Spain (Robinson, 2019), is perfect for travellers as well as the discerning reader. This book is a ‘must read’. This is an extraordinary tale of Spain, from early tribalism and Roman rule to the Moorish conquest in the 8th century, Spain’s eighteenth-century revival under the Bourbons, the Peninsular War and revolution in Spanish America right up to the horrendous civil war and Generalissimo Francisco Franco’s regime. A leitmotif running from Columbus’s first voyage in 1492 was Spain’s trans-oceanic empire which was central to the country’s global impact and to a degree self-understanding. And the story continues with a look at contemporary Spain, not least Catalonia, and its future. Professor Black excels in covering not only political and military history, but also environmental and cultural factors. He looks, too, at what makes Spain’s regions distinct, and how the history of the Iberian peninsula, could, at various points, have taken very different turns.

Jeremy talks to Charles Coutinho for the New Books Network. Listen to the podcast now.

Mapping Conflict through the Centuries

There is little documented mapping of conflict prior to the Renaissance period, but, from the 17th century onward, military commanders and strategists began to document the wars in which they were involved and, later, to use mapping to actually plan the progress of a conflict. Using contemporary maps, Jeremy Black‘s Maps of War: Mapping Conflict through the Centuries (Conway, 2016) covers the history of the mapping of land wars, and shows the way in which maps provide a guide to the history of war.

Jeremy talks to Marshall Poe for the New Books Network. Listen to the podcast here.