Reviews

1-15 of 60 Articles
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Robert Shiels reviews Warriors, Rebels and Saints: The Art of Leadership from Machiavelli to Malcolm X. A simple question: do leaders make history, or does history make leaders? Seeking an answer formed the basis of a course by the author on leaders and leadership in history at Harvard University.

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The Cleveland Torso Murderer, also known as the Mad Butcher of Kingsbury Run, was an unidentified serial killer who was active in Cleveland, Ohio in the 1930s. In parenthesis, it should be acknowledged immediately that these sorts of designations assume that there is one responsible person but that

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Robert Shiels reviews an account of Manchester United's "glory years" by the club's lawyer. It is rather sad that the manuscript for this book was completed by its author, Maurice Watkins, a solicitor to and director of Manchester United, shortly before his death in 2021.

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Robert Shiels commends a new look at the self-invented authoritarian Caesars who present such a clear and present danger to democracy and the rule of law today.

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1848, sometimes known as The Springtime of the Peoples, saw revolutionary fervour sweep across Europe and the publication by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels of The Communist Manifesto. Robert Shiels finds a new history of this European turning point by the eminent historian Sir Christopher Clark comp

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Graham Ogilvy reviews a "true story of love, crime and a dangerous obsession". Stendhal syndrome is unlikely to feature in a plea of mitigation in a court near you — and citing it did nothing to secure the liberty of Stéphane Breitwieser, the working-class Frenchman who systematically p

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Robert Shiels is impressed by a new history of opium which paints a fascinating picture of an ancient trade with a profound impact on modern society. Opium has its own history and this discursive study by novelist Amitav Ghosh, moving into factual history, concentrates on individual aspects of the o

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Robert Shiels commends a new biography of the comic genius who fell victim to the USA's post-war red scare. This attractively produced book, with many photographs, is a social, political and cultural history of a crucial period in the life of an influential 20th century figure, an original and indep

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Professor Joseph Bristow’s impressive new study, which deserves close attention, shows that the civil libel suit and the criminal trials involving Oscar Wilde were understood to be within the legal procedures of the time, writes Robert Shiels. The significantly wider importance of his book may

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Douglas Thomson reviews a new book by Ian O'Donnell, professor of criminology at University College Dublin, examining four very different prison regimes. In this book, Professor Ian O'Donnell visits and investigates four very different prison environments, all considerably unlike those within the ma

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This small book, with a big title, is commendable in several ways: it shows quite how many courts or tribunals and different types of case a member of the Bar, in the author’s generation at least, might have had to deal with. The nature and extent of the pressing political and legal issues tha

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When President Higgins last month made an unprecedented political intervention in defence of Irish neutrality, Conor Gallagher must have been jumping for joy. The Irish Times correspondent's new book – Is Ireland Neutral? The Many Myths of Irish Neutrality – could not have been better ti

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There is an aphorism to the effect that history is past politics, and politics is present history. In this study, journalist Phil Tinline considers some of the events, over the first century of mass democracy, when politics lurched from crisis to crisis. The aim is see how this history of political

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