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Weissnichtwo (Cambridge, UK)

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Rabid: A Cultural History of the World's Most Diabolical Virus
Rabid: A Cultural History of the World's Most Diabolical Virus
by Bill Wasik Monica Murphy
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.68

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining journalistic introduction to a fascinating subject, 30 Nov. 2013
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This is a very readable account of the history of rabies that covers an impressive range of geographical and chronological ground. The prose rolls along nicely and is frequently surprisingly entertaining. It is, in sum, a very good introduction to some of the major events in the history of rabies, which also draws attention to the unusual cultural footprint that this actually fairly rare disease has had.

In terms of audience... I have an academic interest in the history of rabies and was already familiar with many of the episodes covered. If you are expecting a 'cultural history' in the sense that modern academic historians use the phrase, then this is a bit superficial in its treatment. You might also find the writing too journalistic. But if you are looking for a good nonfic read, or a gateway to the much bigger subject of rabies in human culture, it's not bad.


Reading and Writing : Literacy in France from Calvin to Jules Ferry
Reading and Writing : Literacy in France from Calvin to Jules Ferry
by François; Ozouf, Jacques Furet
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Classic and Still Important Study, 30 Nov. 2013
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This is the English translation of Ozouf and Furet's 'Lire et Écrire': still one of the most important studies in the history of French literacy. Very well rendered by the translator.


Modern German Thought from Kant to Habermas: An Annotated German-Language Reader (Studies in German Literature Linguistics and Culture)
Modern German Thought from Kant to Habermas: An Annotated German-Language Reader (Studies in German Literature Linguistics and Culture)
by Henk de Berg
Edition: Paperback
Price: £15.58

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Useful learning aid, 30 Nov. 2013
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This is a great idea and a very good way to improve your philosophical German if you already have a moderately decent reading level. It really fills a hole in the market. Each excerpt is annotated with footnotes that translate idiomatic phrases, or explicate some of the complexities and disagreements over translating certain key terms. The actual selections cover many of the major bases in the history of German thought, including not just philosophers but also people like Freud, and are usually texts that have generated widely-repeated phrases in English translation, so it is especially useful to see the originals. The editors' introduction is itself interesting, since it makes a thought-provoking case for the importance of reading these works on the original.

I would say the book is geared towards the reader who is very comfortable with a broadsheet newspaper, and wants to raise his or her level with some complex texts. Or somebody who is beginning to study philosophical or historical texts in the original German, as a way in to various different styles and terminological traditions. These are the people who will get the most out of it.

Some of the annotated phrases seemed slightly odd selections for further comment, while I found myself reaching for the dictionary with some of the unannotated phrases. But this is probably inevitable: I can't imagine how difficult it was for the editors to calibrate the annotations for the 'average reader' of this book! My level might also be a little lower than the authors had anticipated. All in all, a very useful product for advanced German learners - one of the few of its kind.


Modern Dublin Urban Change and the Irish Past, 1957-1973 (Oxford Historical Monographs)
Modern Dublin Urban Change and the Irish Past, 1957-1973 (Oxford Historical Monographs)
by Erika Hanna
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £63.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A lively look at Dublin in the Sixties, 28 Nov. 2013
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I hugely enjoyed this book, which offered a refreshing take on a part of the Sixties I knew almost nothing about. The book has that rare quality of being both a readable introduction to changes in Dublin during the post-war era, and a sophisticated analysis that employs the latest ideas from cultural theory. Many people know about Dublin's wealth of Georgian architecture, but very few people in Britain realise how significant and contested it has been in Irish culture. On the one hand, 'Modern Dublin' shows the city emerging from that international arguments about modernism and preservation with which so many European cities had to struggle in the 1960s; on the other, the book shows us that this is a very particular Irish story. Debates over modernisation in Ireland were intricately bound up with the country's view of its own past and the nationalist politics of a still-young republic.

Each chapter reveals a different side or a different issue in the fierce debates over the construction and destruction of buildings and neighbourhoods during the 1960s and '70s. The author looks at these debates from all sides. Preservationist campaigners, student radicals, groups like the Dublin Housing Action Committee, government ministers -- all have their place in the story she tells. She has clearly done a lot of research into the topic, citing an intimidating range of primary sources and interviews to enrich her narrative. And, as befits a book that focuses on the built environment, the book is generously illustrated with photographs and maps. Hanna is very good at bringing dry debates to life with (sometimes amusing) vignettes and quotations. I found the descriptions of the community of student protesters in chapter 7 especially colourful.

As an interested outsider, I can't comment on the book's importance to specialists. But I am sure this will be a valuable text for many students. Obviously those studying twentieth-century Irish history will get a lot from it, but students of cities, housing, debates over modern architecture and student protests in any context during the 1960s will also learn a great deal.


The Railway Journey: The Industrialization and Perception of Time and Space
The Railway Journey: The Industrialization and Perception of Time and Space
by Schivelbusch
Edition: Paperback

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deft and Intriguing, 8 Jan. 2006
It completely confirmed to me my desire to be a historian, demonstrating beautifully how popular perceptions of time and space were transformed by the development of railway transport in the nineteenth century. It draws in murder novels, mechanics, science and countless other domains; majesterially blending the cultural with the absolutely material. Highly recommended.


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