Britain’s Not-So-Evil Empire

Review by Daniel M. Bring of Jeremy Black’s Imperial Legacies: The British Empire Around the World (Encounter Books, 2019)  published on the Intercollegiate Studies Institute website. Read here.


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.

Is Military History worth studying?

Military history is thought by some to be a valuable field of study to both professional soldiers and civilians. It is indeed one of the most popular fields in the genre of history. And yet many academics tend to look down upon the field as fundamentally unserious and not therefore meriting attention by academic based historians. Historian Jeremy Black, who has written extensively in the field of military history discusses with Charles Coutinho of the Royal Historical Society the question: Is military history worth studying?  In a wide-ranging discussion they delve into the various criticisms that can be made about the genre of military history while also stating why the discipline is still valid, worthy of study.

Listen to the podcast for the New Books Network.

A short history of the great River Thames

‘One might almost have walked over the Thames and through every part of it on the boats, which could scarcely pass by each other.’ This description of a regatta in 1775 can be followed by ‘Paddler,’ a newspaper correspondent on 3 July 1880, who seeking relief ‘in the enjoyment of a leisurely paddle on the river in these long twilight evenings’ faces ‘the noisy and immodest proceedings of the evenings’ and their ‘foul and disgusting language which assaults one’s ears and serves to call attention to the immodesty which might otherwise pass unnoticed,’ or by TS Eliot, working for the Colonial and Foreign Department of Lloyd’s Bank, and finding in Thameside London intimations of the prospect of salvation described in The Waste Land (1922):

Read the full piece on The Article website.