An international scholarly online history journal on First and Second Empire subjects: articles, bibliographies, book reviews, in english and in french


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Each month we present an important recent book, and every week we report on recent publications.
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LAY Paul, History Today - And Tomorrow (ebook)

<i>© Endeavour Press Ltd</i>

© Endeavour Press Ltd

From the publishers:
Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple, once said that the single most valuable course he had taken as a student was a short one on the history of calligraphy.

Calligraphy may seem an eccentric choice, but it equipped Jobs with the skills to build one of the design and technology leaders of the 21st-century.
There could be no better example of how history remains as vital and relevant today as it has ever been.
And yet it is precisely course such as those that are under threat as educational authorities become obsessed with 'relevance'.
In this challenging, thought-provoking essay, Paul Lay, the editor of History Today, sketches a manifesto for the study of the past in today's world. Too much history, he argues, has retreated in a comfort zone of nostalgia and domesticity. It has become insular and parochial, concerned more with Georgian bathrooms than the Congress of Vienna, with china rather than China.
But in difficult times history should step out of its comfort zone and become once again what it was: a disturbing, challenging discipline that leaves no stone unturned, that embraces the different, the strange, the exotic and the perverse, to reveal in full the possibilities of human existence, a discipline that is not afraid of casting a cold eye on the great conflicts and themes of our times.

Place and publisher: Endeavour Press Ltd

Date of publication: 2012

This week’s book(s):

Description: First published by George Philip in 1987, this book is published in 2015 with new material as part of the introduction.
From the publisher's:
"This book offers a fresh view of the most famous man in history. It shows him as a monarch rather than a genius on the battlefield. Although Napoleon arose through the events of the Revolution, he was primarily interested in establishing a dynasty to rank with the Bourbons or the Habsburgs, and in extending his influence throughout Europe.
Philip Mansel's book shows the ruthlessness with which Napoleon sought to achieve these ends. His creation of a court was a calculated act, to enhance his power and prestige. His policy of territorial expansionism was pursued with an arrogance and inhumanity which turned all Europe against him. His brothers and sisters were given thrones and courts in Italy, Spain, Holland and Westphalia, where they alienated most of their subjects.
This account is based on the hitherto unpublished papers of several of Napoleon's courtiers. This contemporary material provides fascinating insights into the careers and characters of those closest to the Emperor, including Duroc, the Emperor's only friend, his second wife, the Empress Marie Louise, Fontaine, his architect, who helped spread the Empire style throughout Europe, and his brother Joseph, one of the few people who had the courage to tell Napoleon when he was wrong.
The Eagle in Splendour shows that personal genius is not enough to establish a monarchy. The heart of the Napoleonic court was a void, because the Emperor was not loved and his regime lacked credibility. The Emperor's domination of Europe was an illusion, killed, like so many of his soldiers, in the Russian snow. As Malraux said to De Gaulle, Napoleon had ‘a very great mind and a rather small soul'."

Place and publisher: London, I.B.Tauris

Date of publication: 2015

Number of pages: 256

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