Critical Review: Joll, James. The Origins of the First World War. 2nd. ed… New York : London: Longman Pearson Education, 1992.
In his book, Joll sought to surmise the causations of the war. To do this he focused on the prewar mood of 1914 between 28 June and 4 August 1914; exploring the varied “political, intellectual and moral beliefs” of the belligerents and how these mores may have impacted the decisions their leaders made.
As the 1980’s grappled with the ongoing Cold War and debates over armament build up and the legal right to invasion, the 1984 release of The Origins of the First World War, with its illustrations of prewar stockpiling of armament and escalating social and political tensions between belligerents, was fortuitous as it emulated the issues of the day between the United States, NATO, West Germany, Russia, and the Warsaw Pact.
Critical Review: Landes, David S. The Unbound Prometheus: Technological Change and Industrial Development in Western Europe from 1750 to the Present. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008.
In Prometheus, Landes focused on the growth of technology and innovation; textiles, coal, steel, steam, electricity etc., between 1870 -1914, and 1919 -1945, examining how technology and innovation spurred economic growth and quickly changed the centuries of agrarian societies into a culture of manufacturing. Instead of landowner and tenants, employment comprised of business owners, managers, and workers. These new schemes created unprecedented wealth, condensed living and working spaces, along with, increased sickness and poverty, on a scale previously unknown.
Critical Review: Hankins, James, ed. Renaissance Civic Humanism: Reappraisals and Reflections. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000.
Hankins, the editor of Renaissance Civic Humanism: Reappraisals and Reflections, contemplates, via several experts, historiography and understanding of “Civic humanism” during the Renaissance. He indicated his aim was to challenge the complacency of Renaissance political thought historians. He remarked, “historians of Renaissance political thought have made few serious attempts to revise the orthodox view of civic humanism as established by [Hans]Baron and [J.G. A. ]Pocock.” Moreover, Hankins describes Baron’s, The crisis of the Early Italian Renaissance: Civic Humanism and Republican Liberty in an Age of Classicism and Tyranny as “possibly the most important monograph in Renaissance history written since the Second World War.”
Critical Review: Pettegree, Andrew. Reformation and the Culture of Persuasion. Cambridge : New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005.
Professor Pettegree, asked basic straight-forward questions: “Why did people choose the Reformation? What was it in the evangelical teaching that excited, moved or persuaded them? How, and by what process, did people arrive at the new understandings that prompted a change of allegiance, and embedded them in their new faith?” He indicated, the religious metamorphosis of the Reformation’s first-generation did not happen rapidly. It was a slow, painful process full of “difficult choices and life-changing decisions” such as who to trust, the existing Empire or break away and follow the “modernized” Reformation leaders?
Critical Review: Kennedy, David. Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999 . Kindle Edition.
Kennedy’s, Freedom from Fear, won the Pulitzer Prize and is part of the Oxford History of the United States series. His book offers a gripping narrative during a pivotal epoch that shaped America; the Depression, the New Deal, and the Second World War – the “Good War”. Harvard Sitkoff considered this age to be the “most momentous era in the twentieth-century United States.” Kennedy’s talent for blending historical facts with compelling storytelling can be perused in his other notable works, Birth Control in America: The Career of Margaret Sanger  and Over Here: The First World War and American Society ). Throughout its 464 pages, Kennedy uses rich character descriptive skills, e.g., “Louis McHenry Howe… a crater-eyed, gnarled, wheezing homunculus”. This whimsical style informs as well as entertains the reader (96).
Critical Review: Foner, Eric. Reconstruction America’s Unfinished Revolution 1863-1877. Updated Edition. New York: Harper Perennial Modern Classics Kindle Edition , 2014.
Eric Foner in his book, Reconstruction America’s Unfinished Revolution 1863-1877, discusses two very distinct themes. First, he demeans the Dunning School of Analysis, explaining how the school’s doctrine tainted American history by focusing on Southern whites, making them the victims during Reconstruction, thus giving them the center stage, with little to no voice for the blacks. Foner stepped outside of the Dunning ranks and broke with its obtuse dogma, giving the black voice, the freedmen, center stage examining their experiences, aspirations, and thoughts, thus repositioning the established lens on the black experience during Reconstruction. Peter Kolchin suggested the Dunning philosophy of Reconstruction was a “Tragic Era” led by “vindictive Yankees” along with “Radical Republicans” who were seeking to “humiliate the South”. Moreover, he proposed, the Dunning school of thought was still the prevalent mentality until the release of Foner’s book