Christopher Hill (1912–2003) was an English historian. Educated at Oxford, Hill taught at the University College of South Wales and Monmouthshire as well as Oxford, where he was elected Master of Balliol College. His books include Puritanism and Revolution,Intellectual Origins of the English Revolution, and The World Turned Upside Down.

Touché!

Victor Kiernan is one of the most versatile of British historians. He has written learned monographs on British Diplomacy in China, 1880–1885, on Metcalfe’s Mission to Lahore, 1808–1809, on The Revolution of 1854 in Spanish History, on American imperialism in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, on imperialism generally, and on …

The Raj Quartet

This timely book aims to correct many popular errors of which historians, of the British Isles at least, are guilty. Professor Kearney has taught at universities in Ireland, England, Scotland, and the US, so he is well equipped for his subject. The first error is to speak of “England” when …

History Turned Upside Down

Here are five books about seventeenth-century England that cut across several disciplines, linking history with literature, literature with economic and social history and with feminist studies, the novel and science with social and cultural history. Things are looking up. Kevin Sharpe had bad luck with Criticism and Compliment. In 1984 …

Under the Tudor Bed

Over fifty years ago the great historian Sir Lewis Namier wrote three volumes about eighteenth-century England in which he argued that the high-sounding principles which Whig and Tory politicians mouthed bore little relation to their political actions. Here the spoils of office and the patronage of rival grandees were far …

Success Story

Outlaws, highwaymen, smugglers, pirates, train robbers—they have always had a romantic appeal, and much public sympathy. It was difficult to get seventeenth-century English juries to return guilty verdicts against pirates. By the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, when pirates did a roaring trade with New York and other American …

The Man Who Should Be King

Prince Henry is the great might-havebeen of English history. Eldest son of James VI of Scotland, who in 1603 became king of England, Henry died at the age of eighteen in 1612. He was succeeded as James’s heir by his stuttering obstinate younger brother, who as Charles I provoked and …

Jolly Rogers

Dr. Burg’s object is to take the seventeenth-century Caribbean pirates as a self-sufficient isolated population and to consider the incidence of homosexuality among them. It is an interesting idea. But there are problems. “Nothing could be further from the truth,” he proclaims, than that this is “a historical work.” It …

Tiptoe Through the Tudors

This is, I think, the largest single work I have ever had to review. Epic in size and scope, tragic in the story it tells, it is also epic in its conception and execution, a remarkable triumph of persistence and determination. Miss Muriel St. Clare Byrne conceived of the idea …

Scientists in Society

One of the more tedious historical controversies of recent years has been over the relationship of Puritanism to the origins of modern science in England, and in particular of the Royal Society, founded in 1662. R. K. Merton, in a brilliant study some forty years ago, suggested a close connection.

The New History of England

Of series of histories of England there appears to be no end. We have the Oxford History of England, the Penguin History of England, the Fontana History of England, Nelson’s and Longman’s Histories—and I am sure many more. But publishers seem to think the market inexhaustible. The appearance of the …

Top People

“Far too much of modern British history,” Sir Lewis Namier wrote, “is ensconced in biographies which dribble away their material without coming to grips with basic problems.” He need not have limited his remark to British history. Biography has been under something of a cloud with purist historians since the …

Political Animal

All historians look at the past through spectacles of the present: those who believe themselves to be totally “objective” are often the most naïve in their acceptance of the values of the world in which they live. That is why history has continually to be rewritten: it is not the …

Hobbist Man

Wallenstein is one of the great mystery men of history. Born in 1583, a Czech subject of the Austrian Habsburgs, he rose to become the richest and most powerful man in Germany, commander-in-chief of the imperial army in the Thirty Years War, until 1634 when he was assassinated at the …

Caliban’s Gift

One by-product of the bicentennial of 1776 seems to have been a revival of interest in 1492 and the perennially fascinating question of relations between Europe and America. In February 1975 the University of California at Los Angeles organized a conference “devoted to the initial impact of the New World …

Plain Sailing

In 1405 a Chinese fleet of sixty-three vessels, carrying “tens of thousands” of men, showed the flag all over the northern Indian Ocean, including the entrances to the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea and the Somali coast. At least six similar expeditions followed in the succeeding twenty-eight years—years in …

The Monster and his Myths

To write a biography of Stalin must be a daunting task. It is difficult to write impartially about any revolutionary leader. Revolutions generate myths, and any historian is likely to take an attitude, favorable or hostile, to the achievements of the revolution in which his hero participated. In the case …

III: Seeing the Invisible

Historians are slowly learning to cope with the difficult task of understanding those intellectual movements of the past which appear to lead nowhere, which conflict with modern assumptions, and yet which undoubtedly stirred the imaginations of earlier generations. Thanks to the work of many researchers we are beginning to appreciate …