Martin Daunton's lucid Trusting Leviathan: The Politics of Taxation in Britain 1799-1914 (Cambridge: Cambridge Uni Press 2001) and Just Taxes: The Politics of Taxation in Britain 1914-1979 (Cambridge: Cambridge Uni Press 2002)I've meanwhile been struck by Hilary Mantel's comment at 10 in LVI(16) New York Review of Books (2009) 8-12 on Keith Thomas' The Ends of Life (Oxford: Oxford Uni Press 2009) that -
Rachel Potter's 'Obscene Modernism and the Trade in Salacious Books' in 16(1) Modernism/Modernity (2009) 88-104 - incidental reading for the 'Forbidden, Hidden & Censored Books' conference in July next year - and the more insightful 'Dancing with the Devil: Publishing Modern Music in the Third Reich' by Kim Kowalke in 8(1) Modernism/Modernity (2001) 1-41 [PDF]
Jerome Karabel's The Chosen: The Hidden History of Admission and Exclusion at Harvard, Yale and Princeton (Boston: Houghton Mifflin 2006), of particular interest for comments on the construction of identity, the assessment of intangibles such as 'character' and mechanisms for exclusion of 'undesirables' (eg people who were described as "hebrews", "negroes" and "intellectuals")
Rachel Fuchs' Contested Paternity: Constructing Families in Modern France (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Uni Press 2008)
For every example, as Keith Thomas demonstrates, you can find a counterexample. Some will object that his book is a collage of quotations, a toy box, a magpie hoard: that it does not sustain a thesis. But Thomas' work has always been more about sharing knowledge than winning arguments. In any event, in the field of human behaviour, which is where he has located his efforts, truths are provisional and tentative.Mantel notes Thomas' references to religious belief -
... many people had trouble envisaging the afterlife; an old Sussex lady on her deathbed, promised that she would soon be in paradise, said that she would rather stay in Lewes.That sounds quite reasonable to me.
The Globe & Mail - in reviewing Beautiful Pigs: Portraits of Fine Breeds (New York: St. Martin's 2009) by Andy Case, photographs by Andrew Perris - notes that -
The young Berkshire is a naughty pig with a lively character. Its back is long and level, and it has a high-set tail with well-sprung ribs ... [It] is well up on its toes, enabling it to walk well.Nothing like a naughty pig to lift the spirits after a wrestle with Bordieu!
Pigs are not malicious or miscreant. Quite the opposite. They are as intelligent and elegant as any animal out there (hygiene and eating habits notwithstanding), they are fiercely maternal, proud, brave, stubborn and sensitive creatures, and they are the source of civilization's greatest side dish (bacon).