History book reviews

Reviews of the latest history books, all written by expert historians.



Girl in a Green Gown: The History and Mystery of the Arnolfini Portrait
by Carola Hicks
Jerry Brotton delves into the intriguing history of an iconic 15th-century painting
A Force to be Reckoned With: A History of the Women’s Institute
by Jane Robinson
June Purvis hopes a readable history of the WI will challenge stereotypes
Horror in the East
by Laurence Rees
Rob Attar on a penetrating account of Japanese brutality in the Second World War
As Good as God, as Clever as the Devil: The Impossible Life of Mary Benson
by Rodney Bolt
Kate Williams on a winning biography of a remarkable Victorian woman and her family
Dreamers of a New Day: Women who Invented the Twentieth Century
by Sheila Rowbotham
Sue Wingrove discovers some remarkable women of recent history
A Winter on the Nile: Florence Nightingale, Gustave Flaubert and the Temptations
by Anthony Sattin
Stephen Halliday meets two influential Victorians aboard a boat
The Last Pre-Raphaelite: Edward Burne-Jones and the Victorian Imagination
by Fiona MacCarthy
Caroline Arscott reads a gripping life of an influential Victorian artist
Courtiers: The Secret History of the Georgian Court
by Lucy Worsley
Tracy Borman reviews a gossipy history of the Georgian court
1492: The Year Our World Began
by Felipe Fernández-Armesto
Jerry Brotton savours a global history of a decisive year
The English Aristocracy 1070–1272: A Social Transformation
by David Crouch
Steve Marritt heralds a scholarly investigation into the rise of England’s medieval nobility 
Beacon for Change: How the Festival of Britain Helped to Shape a New Age
by Barry Turner
Paul Addison enjoys a sprightly account of the 1951 Festival of Britain
For Honour and Fame: Chivalry in England, 1066–1500
by Nigel Saul
Matthew Strickland welcomes a magisterial new study of English medieval chivalry
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