What are you reading?

A weekly look over the shoulders of our scholar-reviewers

April 9, 2009

John Welshman is senior lecturer in the department of history, Lancaster University. He is reading Bryan Magee, Growing Up in a War (Pimlico, 2007) “because I am writing a book on the evacuation of schoolchildren during the Second World War, due to be published by Oxford University Press in 2010”.

A.W. Purdue, visiting reader at The Open University, is reading Martin Pugh, We Danced All Night: A Social History of Britain between the Wars (Bodley Head, 2008). “This thoroughly revisionist book follows the recent work of economic historians, who have seen the interwar period as a time of economic expansion for Britain, in describing a society with a rising standard of living. The depressed areas, in which for many the experience was of long-term unemployment, are not ignored but the overall picture is one of an emerging consumer society. Packed with information on everything from house prices to tinned food, from working-class holidays to debutantes’ balls and from Marie Stopes to Barbara Cartland, this is a must for students’ reading lists and makes compulsive reading for anyone fascinated by the period.”

Thomas Hegghammer is a fellow at Harvard Kennedy School and a senior research fellow at the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment. “As usual I am reading several books at the same time, but I would like to highlight The Sultan’s Admiral: Barbarossa – Pirate and Empire-Builder (I. B. Tauris, 2009) by Ernle Bradford. It’s actually a classic from 1968, but it has just come out in paperback.”

Laleh Khalili, senior lecturer in Middle East politics, School of Oriental and African Studies, is reading Bruno Latour, Reassembling the Social (Oxford University Press, 2007). “Absolutely infuriating and inspiring in equal measures. I am reading it because I am interested in the Actor-Network-Theory that he propounds but am trying to figure out whether this is just old wine in a new bottle plus a lot of Gallic frippery or a truly revolutionary methodology for doing social-science research!”

Julia Droeber is a teaching fellow in Islamic and religious studies, School of Divinity, History and Philosophy, University of Aberdeen. “I’ve just finished reading Krisztina Kehl-Bodrogi, ‘Religion Is Not so Strong Here’: Muslim Religious Life in Khorezm after Socialism (Lit Verlag, 2008). It’s a great piece of ethnography on being Muslim in post-Soviet Uzbekistan.”

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