Barry Cunliffe et al., ed. The Penguin Atlas of British and Irish History. New York: Penguin, 2002. 320 pp. $20.00 (paper), ISBN 978-0-14-100915-5.
Reviewed by Jeremy Black (Department of History, University of Exeter)
Published on H-Albion (October, 2002)
Conceived and produced by John Haywood and Simon Hall, this is an interesting and well-presented historical atlas that is particularly impressive for its engagement with non-political topics. Conventional topics are ably treated. For example the spread on the Black Death includes a map on demographic change in Leicestershire that shows the frequency of shrinkage and desertion of villages. The coverage of the Civil War includes a good map of Gloucestershire. The interwar period is clarified with a map of South Wales showing strike action, unemployment, and volunteers for the International Brigades. The atlas is successful as an historical atlas, but less valuable than it might otherwise have been because of its failure to draw attention to limitations in the available material and in what cartography can offer. There is no attempt to match the device of using contemporary maps as an illustration of differing senses of spatial awareness, seen in my Historical Atlas of Great Britain: Late Middle Ages to the Georgian Era (2000) and my Dorling Kindersley Atlas of World History (1999). Yet it would be inappropriate to close on a critical note. This is a well-produced and successful work that is excellent value for money.
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Jeremy Black. Review of et al., Barry Cunliffe, ed., The Penguin Atlas of British and Irish History.
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