Books to look out for in January 2024

What’s a great way to start the new year? With a new book of course! Take a look at the following January releases and don’t forget to claim your 35% discount – displayed at the end of this blog post!

A Study, Edition and Translation of the Firework Book
by Axel E. W. Müller

Produced from the early fifteenth century onwards, Firework Books are, broadly speaking, manuals on how to use gunpowder, witnessing a major development in warfare. Surviving in a corpus of some 65, each text has different content and components, but core elements are present throughout. An important example is a manuscript in the collection of the Royal Armouries (RA I.34), written in Early New High German, and (unlike many other manuscripts) still in what appears to be its original format and binding; it also, unusually, contains a number of illustrations. This volume provides the first full edition and English translation of the material, with a detailed analysis of its content and context. 

Book jacket image: Gunpowder Technology in the Fifteenth Century

Crusade, Settlement and Historical Writing in the Latin East and Latin West, c. 1100-c.1300

Edited by Andrew D. Buck, James H. Kane and Stephen J. Spencer

The period between the First Crusade and the collapse of the “crusader states” in the eastern Mediterranean was a crucial one for medieval historical writing. From the departure of the earliest crusading armies in 1096 to the Mamlūk conquest of the Latin states in the late thirteenth century, crusading activity, and the settlements it established and aimed to protect, generated a vast textual output, offering rich insights into the historiographical cultures of the Latin West and Latin East. However, modern scholarship on the crusades and the “crusader states” has tended to draw an artificial boundary between the two, even though medieval writers treated their histories as virtually indistinguishable. This volume places these spheres into dialogue with each other, looking at how individual crusading campaigns and the Frankish settlements in the eastern Mediterranean were depicted and remembered in the central Middle Ages

Book jacket image: Crusade, Settlement and Historical Writing in the Latin East and Latin West, c. 1100-c.1300

Polity, Society and Culture
by Surinder Singh

The states of medieval India operated under a ruling class that was largely Muslim, colouring our understanding of the history of the period. Increased availability of Persian chronicles, emergence of a class of professional historians and progressive forces emanating from the anti-colonial movement have led to new approaches to the period. Situating Medieval India covers more than 6 centuries, from the Delhi Sultanate to the arrival of Europeans. Topics covered include approaches to exercise of sovereign power in medieval states and the social identity of government officers, Dulla Bhatti’s revolt against the Mughal State, modes of resistance in the state of Punjab, and religious diversity in Agra.

Book jacket image: Situating Medieval India

Historical Perspectives on the Visual Culture of Pregnancy
Edited by Elisabet Björklund and Solveig Jülich

Images of pregnant and fetal bodies are today visible everywhere. Through ultrasound screenings at maternity clinics, birth videos on social media platforms, or antiabortion propaganda, visualizations of pregnancy are available and accessible as never before. The origins of today’s visual culture of pregnancy are often traced back to the 1960s, when Swedish photographer Lennart Nilsson’s stunning photographs of human development were published in Life magazine and widely disseminated over the world. But the public display of pregnant and fetal bodies actually has a much longer and more complex history. In this timely book, a group of scholars from a range of disciplines explores this multifaceted history by highlighting visualizations of pregnant and fetal bodies in a variety of geographical and cultural contexts, spanning a period of more than 300 years

Book jacket image: Rethinking the Public Fetus

by Peter Murray Jones

Friars are often overlooked in the picture of health care in late medieval England. Physicians, surgeons, apothecaries, barbers, midwives – these are the people we think of immediately as agents of healing; whilst we identify university teachers as authorities on medical writings. Yet from their first appearance in England in the 1220s to the dispersal of the friaries in the 1530s, four orders of friars were active as healers of every type. This book restores friars to their rightful place in the history of English health care, exploring the complex, productive entanglement between care of the soul and healing of the body, in both theoretical and practical terms. Drawing upon the surprising wealth of evidence found in the surviving manuscripts, it brings to light individuals such as William Holme (c. 1400), and his patient the duke of York (d. 1402), who suffered from swollen legs.

Book jacket image: The Medicine of the Friars in Medieval England

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