What are you reading?

A weekly look over the shoulders of our scholar-reviewers

August 8, 2013

Geoffrey Alderman, professor of politics and contemporary history at the University of Buckingham, is reading The Jewish Emigrant from Britain 1700-2000: Essays in Memory of Lloyd P. Gartner, edited by Gabriel Sivan (Jewish Historical Society of England, Israel Branch, 2013). “Gartner revolutionised our understanding of the motives that drove Jews from Eastern Europe to the UK a century ago. Here, leading scholars address a different question: what drove Jews from British shores at this time and later. It relates how and why Jewish communities were established in North America, Australia, New Zealand and Southern Africa, and addresses the often tragic stories of Jews who returned to Russia, both in Tsarist times and following the Bolshevik revolution.”

The Friday Gospels by Jenn Ashworth

Liz Gloyn, teaching fellow in Roman literature, Institute of Archaeology and Antiquity, University of Birmingham, is reading Jenn Ashworth’s The Friday Gospels (Sceptre, 2013). “A darkly comic book written by an old university friend, it takesplace over a single day in the life of a Mormon family waiting for their missionary son to return from Utah. Through flashbacks and by moving the narrative voice through each family member, it lays open the family’s murkier psychological side – but ends witha glimmer of hope.”

Setting the Scene by Fraser Maclean

Nigel Newbutt, senior lecturer in media and digital cultures, Bath Spa University, is reading Fraser MacLean’s Setting the Scene: The Art and Evolution of Animation Layout (Chronicle, 2011). “MacLean’s rich and well-researched book provides a compelling argument for the role of animation layout in achieving good cinematography, set design, lighting and form. It contains beautiful visuals and provides illustrations from masters of their art; the Maurice Noble and Philip De Guard examples were notable for me. Fascinating and highly recommended.”

So You Think You Know About Britain? by Danny Dorling

Robbie Pickles is student recruitment officer, University of Sheffield. “After the headline in The Independent, ‘British public wrong about nearly everything, survey shows’, it was refreshing to findan easy-to-read primer on the truth behind the myths. Danny Dorling’s So You Think You Know About Britain? [Constable, 2011] neatly lays out everything you need to know about immigration, the North-South divide and population growth while offering handy advice for our leaders on where we should go as a country.”

Belfast 400 by S. J. Connolly

R. C. Richardson, emeritus professor of history, University of Winchester, is reading Belfast 400: People, Place and History, edited by S. J. Connolly (Liverpool University Press, 2013). “In a book celebrating both the anniversary of Belfast’s first charter in 1613 and the end of its more recent Troubles, a chequered history emerges: a small, inauspiciously located private town becomes one of the great boom cities of the British Empire. Buildings including the magnificent City Hall of 1906 and the Titanic museum of 2012 flag high points in an epic story.”

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