European History

Painting the Face of Martin Luther

At first glance, being a sixteenth-century lord doesn’t sound half bad—live in a castle, commission vast paintings and sculptures, and occasionally cast a vote to elect a Holy Roman Emperor. Easy, right? Wrong. In The Serpent and the Lamb: Cranach, Luther, and the Making of the Reformation, historian Steven Ozment

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Eminent Biography: Peter McPhee on Robespierre

Was Maximilien Robespierre (1758-94) a heroic martyr of the French Revolution, or a ruthless tyrant? In his new biography Robespierre: A Revolutionary Life, Peter McPhee combines new research and a deep understanding of the French Revolution to provide a fresh and nuanced portrait of one of history’s most controversial figures. Here the author discusses Robespierre, and explains the

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To London, with Love: All the Downton Rage

Ivan Lett— Finally, I win. I win every time the newest craze comes in from across the pond, but the Guinness World Book of Record-holding Downton Abbey has taken things to a new level. Following the American premiere of the second season this past Sunday, the New York Times released

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John Edwards on His Life with Mary I

Following his “Eminent Biography” post on his new book, Mary I: England’s Catholic Queen, presenting a striking re-characterization of this often misunderstood monarch, John Edwards now writes on his own research experiences and how he came to carefully retell her life.   John Edwards— Anyone who tackles a biography of

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Eminent Biography: John Edwards on Mary I

On November 17, 1558, Queen Mary I of England died in the midst of her restoration of Catholicism. The glorious reign of her succeeding half-sister Elizabeth and the permanent installation of Protestantism as the religion of the Church of England has left this first reigning English queen with a certain

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Eminent Biography: Joshua Rubenstein on Leon Trotsky

For our latest “Eminent Biography” installment, Joshua Rubenstein reflects on his writing of the tumultuous political career of Leon Trotsky: A Revolutionary’s Life, the latest in Yale University Press’s Jewish Lives series. Often remembered as persecutor turned persecuted, Leon Trotsky was a central figure in the global political drama between

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Christopher Lane on Christian Darwinism

Follow @yaleSCIbooks Christopher Lane, Professor of English at Northwestern University and author of The Age of Doubt: Tracing the Roots of Our Religious Uncertainty writes on the misperception that Christianity and Darwinism are and have always been incompatible. His new book traces the thought of the Victorian age through scientific,

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Lest We Forget: Burials and Beliefs Between the Oceans (and Other Snappy Titles)

Follow @yaleSCIbooks Sarah Underwood— A thousand years from now, casual readers of history probably will not see too much distinction between the people of 1890 and those of 1990. I wonder if they will look at the giant stone angels of Victorian graves and assume that our generations wore black

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To London, with Love: Lost at Sea

Ivan Lett— Here in New Haven, the memory of La Amistad and its historic court trial pervades the memory of our coastline. Popular recreations of the slave ship’s story, such as the 1997 Spielberg film or the ship replica at Mystic Seaport, remind us of the horrors of slavery and

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Lest We Forget: A Religion of Their Own

Sarah Underwood— Mabel Barltrop has been alternatively described as a cult leader, a lunatic, and the Second Coming, but to me, she appears to be a combination of Susan B. Anthony, Martha Stewart, and Jesus. With Octavia, Daughter of God: The Story of a Female Messiah and Her Followers, author

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