Norman Etherington

Atlantic history and the closely related phrase 'Atlantic World' refer to a geographical/historical way of thinking about interactions among peoples of Europe, Africa, and the Americas between about 1500 and 1900. Practitioners of Atlantic history, like other scholars washed up from the wreck of nation-based historical writing, find it impossible to comprehend the p ...

Dane Kennedy reminds us that not so long ago exploring held an honoured place among recognised professions. Today, though, the job is extinct. For about a century and a half, the business of exploration was most vigorously pursued in Africa and Australia, yet among the thousands of volumes devoted to ...

... (read more)

A million people thronged the streets of Barcelona on 11 September 2012, clamouring for liberty. This had been their special day long before 9/11. Like Gallipoli, it commemorates a defeat: the rout of the Catalans and their Austrian Hapsburg allies by the Bourbon monarch Philip V of Spain on 11 September 1714 ...

... (read more)

Norman Davies illustrates the literary life available to a score or so of living historians whose works at one time or another made the bestseller lists. Like Simon Schama, Niall Ferguson, and Paul Kennedy, he occupies a place in a Valhalla where the normal rules don’t apply. Instead of waiting nervously for publishers to give thumbs up to a cherished manuscript, ...

Recognising biography as ‘one of the new terrors of death’, the eighteenth-century wit John Arbuthnot made sure his life would be sparsely documented. Manning Clark, preoccupied with his inevitable extinction, took the opposite tack. He massively archived all his thoughts and doings as a strategy ...

... (read more)

In 1970, at the age of twenty-seven, Alan Frost joined the English Department of La Trobe University. His first love had been the study of poetry, for which he earned an MA at the University of Queensland. That led to a PhD at the University of Rochester, where he wrote on ...

... (read more)

Unsurprisingly, Australia leads the world in the production of close-grained studies of convicts sentenced to transportation. Since 1788, it’s what we do. Emma Christopher proves herself to be a crackerjack at tracking down just about anyone who ever stood before an eighteenth-century court. She reels off their crimes, social origins, associates, aliases, lovers, victims, favourite haunts and previous convictions like a bailiff of long experience. What is more, she appears to possess an encyclopedic knowledge of the alleys, lanes and bolt-holes of every city in the British Isles. So stupendous is her talent for conjuring up the atmosphere of the times that most readers will forgive her for too frequently slip ping into the archaic language of the documents she studies.

... (read more)