A plethora of new books has appeared this year, accompanied by a number of exhibitions, in response to the centenary of the Russian Revolution, the remarkable political energies it released worldwide throughout the twentieth century and its still contested historical legacy.
Nineteenth century linguistic scholarship led to the identification of a language family designated as ‘Indo-European’. The demonstration that ancient Western languages such as Latin or Greek were related to similar Eastern languages permitted the hypothesis of a common mother language.
A history of Catholicism in Britain and Ireland written by a non-believer gives a broadly sympathetic view, through a fast-paced narrative that begins with the Reformation and continues until the twenty-first century, full of clear-eyed judgments about a cast of heroes and villains.
A history of US capitalism and its dealings with governments suggests that Americans have a love-hate relationship with their business elites. It also suggests that the power of business has ebbed and flowed over time in response to popular demands to tame its excesses.