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Obras de Paul Lay


Conhecimento Comum



Late last year, I stumbled across the August 2021 edition of this monthly journal, History Today (which describes itself as The World's Leading Serious History Magazine), and have been reading (and have subsequently subscribed to) the London based monthly magazine/journal ever since. My subscription commenced with February 2022, whereas I have only recently collected the January edition (which is the specific subject of this review).

It is one of the few magazines/journals which I (literally) read cover to cover. Perhaps it is a result of my never having studied history either at school or university (other than a half year 'taster' in the first year of secondary school), but I have found that it is fascinating.

I have not been adverse to reading history over the years and I suggest that I probably have read more/ more widely than many, but none the less, I am hooked.

Each edition is a combination of feature articles, the 'head to head' where 3-4 historians are asked to comment as to a particular question/topic (this time: Did Britain ever have a revolutionary moment?); book reviews; letters to the editor; a note from the editor (this edition is the last edited by Paul Lay; I have read the the February edition, the first I have received under my subscription) edited by interim editors Rhys Griffiths and Kate Wiles, which has not displayed any significant changes); and amongst other things, my favourite (which I turn to first - being the last page, it is easy to find!) the 'On the Spot' page where an historian is asked a series of questions ( I think they are the same each month) including:
- why are you a historian of [area of expertise]?
- which history book has had the greatest influence on you?
- what book in your field should everyone read?
- what historical topic have you changed your mind on?
- which genre of history do you like least?
- what's the most exciting field in history today?
- is there an important historical text you have not read?
- what will future generations just us most harshly for?

How could you not like that? Confession: I have always enjoyed reading essays/books written by people (including family's/friends uni theses and others - the best ever would have to be E O Wilson's auto-biography Naturalist, where he explains his life long devotion to the study of ants, which if I recollect correctly only came about when he realised that the study of butterflies and others where already crowded).

The January edition asks those questions of the outgoing editor Paul Lay.

The authors seem to be predominately professional rather than amateur historians.

The topics are varied and wide ranging. Perhaps there is some bias to the western world, but I don't know whether that is influenced by the (expected) audience, availability of manuscripts or whatever. Let's keep an eye on that, but it is not a downer at present.

If I keep up a review of future editions I think I will focus on a single piece in each edition. So for this edition, I will focus on one of the feature articles, being A Woman's Place, which describes the lace of women in the work place (of England) over the last 100 years or so (or perhaps that should be described as out of the workplace). What continues to surprise me is how recent all of this is. But I should not be as I vividly remember visiting a neighbour who was a bank official with Australia's largest (and Government owned) bank at the time in 1983(?) to discuss the parameters of a bank loan for buying a house (I was to marry in early 1984). He (and it was at that time always a 'he') disregarded entirely the earning capacity of my to be wife notwithstanding having commenced working some 12 months before me and would likely for some years earn more than I. That is only 40 years ago, and whilst unlike, as demonstrated by this article earlier times meaning that my wife would have to cease working merely due to having married, the discrimination lasted in other ways for so long.

I can understand (intellectually) the arguments put forward following WW1 and WW2 as to why there might be a preference to support returning service men, but I question whether this was just a reaction as opposed to something evidence based. And what of the returning service women?

One of the more disturbing examples is the Sex Disqualification (Removal) act of 1919 which provided:

A person shall not be disqualified by sex or marriage from the exercise of any public function, or from being appointed to or holding any civil or judicial office or post, or from entering or assuming or carrying on any civil profession or vocation.

An apparently clear statement and yet it is reported that the courts adopted a conservative reading which suggested that marriage did not disqualify a woman from employment, it did not entitle her to it nor protect her from dismissal!

I have no idea as to whether that was the intent of the relevant legislators, but if not, the fact that there is no mention of attempts to pass clarificatory legislation would suggest the legislators were not so minded. A disappointing period in history.

PS, an unrelated podcast which I find very good is The Rest is History. Its coverage is varied / very good and always enjoyable, with many guests.

Big Ship

22 April 2022
… (mais)
bigship | Apr 22, 2022 |
Deals with the years of the Protectorate in a readable style, without too many footnotes. Particular emphasis on the Western Design, the unsuccessful attempt to conquer Hispaniola, Cromwell's first reverse, which persuaded him and others that God had deserted them through their sinfulness, and led to the attempt to impose Puritanism harshly.
jgoodwll | Jul 1, 2020 |


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