What are you reading?

A weekly look over the shoulders of our scholar-reviewers

June 13, 2013

R.C. Richardson, emeritus professor of history, University of Winchester, has been reading Sonja Tiernan’s Eva Gore-Booth: An Image of Such Politics (Manchester University Press, 2012). “An appealing, if occasionally plodding, biography of the sister of Countess Markievicz, the Irish freedom fighter. Eva Gore-Booth was also involved in the Irish campaign but, rejecting her own privileged background, stood up for many other causes in England, too - social reform, women’s education, suffrage, trade unionism and pacifism. She was also a highly regarded public speaker, journalist, playwright and poet.”

The Covert Sphere by Timothy Melley

Nigel Rodenhurst, disabled students’ allowance administrator at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, is reading Timothy Melley’s The Covert Sphere: Secrecy, Fiction and the National Security State (Cornell University Press, 2012). “From Cold War paranoia to conspiracy theory and beyond, the US public’s understandable fascination with the stories behind the ‘official versions’ has presented academics with ideological conundrums to unravel. Melley’s work is erudite, authoritative and accessible. The new contexts presented will doubtless lead to reconsiderations of the work of many ‘Post-Modern’ writers.”

Max Shreck by Stefan Eickhoff

David Revill, assistant professor of music, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, is reading Stefan Eickhoff’s Max Schreck: Gespenstertheater (Belleville, 2009). “A biography of the actor familiar to most of us only for his portrayal of Graf Orlok, the Dracula character, in Murnau’s Nosferatu. Until recently, little has been known about him; it was even (incorrectly) assumed that his name, which in German means ‘fright’, was a pseudonym. The detail with which Eickhoff explores Schreck’s long career as a jobbing actor is the kind of detective work to which we should all aspire.”

Bedsit Disco Queen by Tracey Thorn

Paul Greatrix, registrar, University of Nottingham, is reading Tracey Thorn’s Bedsit Disco Queen (Virago, 2013). “I am biased, having loved Thorn’s voice and music since first hearing the Marine Girls; still, this is an intelligent, insightful and hence rather unusual pop star memoir from someone who never quite fitted in. Hull and Birkbeck alumna and almost a doctoral student, Thorn paints a fascinating picture of the realities of pop stardom with all its doubts and insecurities and sudden ups and downs.”

Sickness, Suffering, and the Sword by Andrew Bamford

John R. Grodzinski, assistant professor of history, Royal Military College of Canada, is reading Andrew Bamford’s Sickness, Suffering, and the Sword: The British Regiment on Campaign, 1808-1815 (University of Oklahoma Press, 2013). “In this impressive study, Bamford examines how the supply of manpower for the Army during the height of the Napoleonic Wars nearly collapsed. Drawing on considerable statistical information compiled from regimental records, he provides an impressive account of the management of British military manpower, and the supply of horses, mules and draught animals to the Army, between 1808 and 1815.”

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