History

Weak Foundation

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Review of 'The Myth of 1648' by Benno Teschke, Verso £25

This book sets out to attack the conventional view in the academic discipline of International Relations which sees there being an unchanging form of interaction between states from 1648 to the present day. Teschke quite rightly insists the whole approach is untenable, since the relations between states change with changes in the social relations of production within each, and he provides useful accounts of the relations during the medieval period, the period of absolutism and that of modern capitalism.

However, two things stymie his argument.

Obituary: Turning Point in History

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Brian Manning pays tribute to Christopher Hill, an outstanding historian of the English Revolution.

'The object of this article is to suggest an interpretation of the events of the 17th century different from that which most of us were taught at school... This interpretation is that the English Revolution of 1640-60 was a great social movement like the French Revolution of 1789.' These are the opening words of Christopher Hill's essay on the English Revolution published in 1940. To a schoolboy like myself at the time, they were a sudden flash of lightning that lit a dark landscape.

'A Voice for the Exploited'

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Brian Manning looks back at the life of the distinguished historian Rodney Hilton.

This is an occasion to mourn the passing of Rodney Hilton on 7 June 2002, but it is also an occasion to celebrate a life devoted to Marxist history.

Rodney Hilton was concerned that Marxist theories of English feudalism were based on a few secondary authorities which were written by non-Marxists. His aim was to base a Marxist interpretation of English feudalism on research in the archives on the primary sources. This he did with great success.

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