What are you reading?

A weekly look over the shoulders of our scholar-reviewers

April 23, 2009

Lawrence Black is senior lecturer in the department of history, Durham University. He is reading the second edition of Callum Brown’s “provocative” The Death of Christian Britain (Routledge, 2009) and Simon Gunn’s “excellent” History and Cultural Theory (Longman, 2006). He has just started reading Jon Lawrence: Electing our Masters (Oxford University Press, 2009) and just finished Joseph O’Neill: Netherland (Fourth Estate, 2008).

Roy Harris is emeritus professor of general linguistics, University of Oxford. He is reading John Dupré: Darwin’s Legacy (Oxford University Press, 2003). “I am reading it because after my recent book, Rationality and the Literate Mind, I am now writing a kind of sequel which will probably be called Science and Scepticism. Dupré interests me because, unlike most of those coasting along on the current media wave of adulation for Darwin, he gives a very critical account of Darwin and Darwinism. It seems to me that, although the theory of evolution is often presented as one of the triumphs in the history of science, when you examine it in detail it turns out to be very ‘unscientific’ indeed.”

Richard Evans is Regius professor of modern history and chairman of the faculty of history, University of Cambridge. He is reading Sönke Neitzel: Abgehört: Deutsche Generäle in Britischer Kriegsgefangenschaft 1942-1945 (List Taschenbuch Verlag, 2007) – “a 640-page edition of transcripts of conversations between high-ranking officers of the Wehrmacht, recorded by hidden microphones in the prisoner-of-war camp at Trent Park”.

Bob Blaisdell is associate professor of English, Kingsborough Community College, City University of New York. “I’m reading Max Schott: Keeping Warm: Essays and Stories (John Daniel, 2004). Schott was a rodeo cowboy who went back to university and became a writer and teacher. He writes on literature (in this book Chaucer, Austen, Dr Johnson and William Carlos Williams) with a reader’s and a writer’s attention and appreciation. He also writes casual and personal essays as well as anyone I’ve read.”

Joanna Lewis is lecturer in international history, London School of Economics. She is reading Nonica Datta: Violence, Martyrdom and Partition: A Daughter’s Testimony (Oxford University Press, 2009) – “A wonderful history, and Datta writes with such compassion, honesty and intricacy. This is the life story of an extraordinary, ordinary Indian woman who lived through and beyond the violence of Indian independence and partition. It is a humbling read.”

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