Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Recommended reading

As I was last term I was again asked to prepare a list of history books for consideration this week by my fellow members of the Library Committee of the Oxford Union for recommendation to the Union for purchase.

Here, with some comments upon them, are the books I suggested - some chosen to supplement the collection's existing holdings, others new books which would, I believe, be of interest to members both for academic study and for general or recreational reading.

Gareth Williams, Peter Pentz and Matthia Wemhoff "Vikings: Life and Legend"  British Museum Press
The book of the current British Museum exhibition. Useful for anyone studying or interested in the the period.

Malcolm Barber " The Crusader States"   Yale University Press
Essential for those studying the Crusades option, by a leading historian of the topic.

Angus Konstram "Bannockburn: Scotland's Greatest Battle for Independence"  Aurum Press
In the 700th anniversary year of one of the most significant battles in British history and with the Scottish referendum looming an appropriate subject.

Richard Barber "Edward III and the triumph of England: The battle of Crecy and the Order of the Garter"  Allen Lane
A major contribution to studies of the period by a leading expert.

Judith Maltby "Prayer Book and People in Elizabethan and Early Stuart England"  Cambridge University Press
Standard work by the chaplain of Corpus Christi College.

John Drury "Music at Midnight: The Life and Poetry of George Herbert"    Penguin 
Acclaimed study by the former Dean of Christ Church of a significant figure in the early Stuart world. 

T.C.W.Blanning "The Pursuit of Glory: Europe 1648-1815"    Penguin
Highly acclaimed study by an outstanding interpreter of the period.

John V.Fleming "The Dark Side of the Enlightenment: Wizards, Alchemists and Spiritual Seekers in the Age of Reason"    W.W.Norton and Co.
The less rational, not to say quirky, side of later eighteenth century intellectual life.

Jesse Norman "Edmund Burke: The Visionary who invented Modern Politics"     William Collins
Well reviewed, and the latest work on Burke.

James A. Secord "Visions of Science: Books and reading at the dawn of the Victorian Age"    Oxford University Press
A stimulating insight into the makeup of nineteenth century intellectual developments.

Hannah Pakula "An Uncommon Woman: The Life of Princess Vicky, the Empress Frederick"  Phoenix
Not just the standard biography, but also a major study of Anglo-German relations at the highest levels in the late nineteenth century.

R.F. Foster "Lord Randolph Churchill: A Political Life"  Clarendon
Standard biography by the current Professor of Irish History at Oxford.

Tim Butcher  "The Trigger: Hunting the Assassin who Brought the World to War"   Chatto and Windus
A very well reviewed account of what influenced and formed Gavrilo Princip.

Frank Millard  "The Palace and the Bunker; Royal Resistence to Hitler"  History Press
An informed and valuable academic study of the opposition of the old order to the Third Reich.

Richard Benson "The Valley: A Hundred Years in the Life of a Family"  Bloomsbury
Recently read on BBC Radio 4 - a social history of the coal community of the Dearne Valley in Yorkshire, and one to complement "Black Diamonds", about the coal owning Earls Fitzwilliam and their great estate and house at Wentworth Woodhouse, which was published a few years ago and which we have in the collection.

Paul Robert Magocsi  "History of Ukraine: the Country and its People."  University of Toronto Press  2nd Edn
The standard work and a topical subject - the outsider needs to understand something of the history of the country and why things are happening now as they are.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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