Section 106 Autumn 2020

Booth, W., Colomb, G. and Williams, J. (2016). The Craft of Research, 4th Edition, Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

This book sets out the processes by which one conducts research and writes a research paper or article. It covers the ground comprehensively and clearly but at times leaves the exact format to be followed using one of the systematic guidelines less than clear; it really needs to be supplemented by another textbook. This book is useful for me in that it sets out the ‘hows’ and the ‘whys’ of writing research.

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Brugh, P. (2019). Gunpowder, Masculinity, and Warfare in German Texts 1400-1700. Changing Persectives on Early Modern Europe.  Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press.

This scholarly monography puts forward the thesis that there was a noticeable change in the way warfare was represented (in words and images) in the three centuries after the introduction of gunpowder in Europe (specifically the German-speaking lands). The author additionally puts forward the view that there is a distinct change in the gender-related attributes of warfare. The range of materials covered is exemplary, and the analysis is thorough and written in a clear and easily understood way. The title perhaps promises more than is actually delivered in the book. This book will help me present materials about how we use primary sources to construct our interpretation of history.

Driessen, M.  and Abudanah, F. (2018). The Udhruh region: A green desert in the hinterland of ancient Petra in Zhuang, Y ad Altaweel, M. (editors), Water Societies and Technologies from the Past and Present. Los Angeles, CA: University of California at Los Angeles Press, 127-156. Stable URL:

This interesting and intriguing book-chapter in a larger work on ‘water, societies and technologies from the past and present’ presents a novel interpretation of the environs of the ancient city of Petra. The evidence is presented clearly, and it makes a strong case for the novel approach, that Petra was not so much a ‘dry’ trading city but had ample water and agriculture. At times, the chapter becomes bogged down in detail which is more appropriate to the historian of technology. As my research questions the accepted views about Petra and its decline, this chapter provides a new interpretation I can use to critique the more traditional views.

Haldon, J. (2000). The Byzantine Wars. Stroud, Gloucestershire: Tempus Publishing Ltd.

As one might expect from this author, the book offers a broad sweep history of the role of the army specifically in the history of Byzantium (330-1453). Given a short book that covers over a thousand years of history, its strength lies in its focus on the army, manpower, equipment and tactics & strategy. The weakness, such as it is, arises from the small compass of the book; perforce at times it is superficial. This book provides the necessary background and detail for me to write my research paper.

Jouanna, J. (2012). The Legacy of the Hippocratic treatise the nature of man: the theory of the four humours, in van der Eijk, P. Greek Medicine from Hippocrates to Galen: Selected Papers. Antwerp: Brill, 335-359. Stable URL:

A detailed treatise this book chapter in a wider treatment of earlier Classical Greek medicine, focuses on the long tradition of the four humours and how it shaped Greek medical attitudes and thought up to Galen. The strength of this chapter lies in its close analysis of the texts – both of exposition and of later development and commentary. The weakness is that it can at times get rather fixated on textual variants and the details of reception. As my paper looks at the tradition of the four humours both in its development and in its continued influence, this chapter will inform my research and my paper.

Lester, J. and Lester, J, Jr. (2015). Writing Research Papers: A complete guide, 15th ed. New York, NY: Pearson.

This textbook is clearly of the ‘how to’ type. It sets out how to do research focusing mainly on the physical preparation of the manuscript and how it should be set out to conform to one of the many ‘house styles’. The clear advantage of this text is the detail it provides for each of the document styles and citation norms. As it covers all the types this can mean that it is easy to get lost in which format one is following – they follow one after another and so it is hard to know if one is dealing with chapter 14 (MLA) or chapter 15 (APA). As my paper must be set out properly this book provides me with the ‘one stop shop’ to get all the information I need.

Machtan, L. (2001). The Hidden Hitler. Oxford: Perseus Press.

This English translation of an original publication in German seeks to explore the less frequently examined aspect of Hitler’s life, especially the details of his early life and how this may have shaped his personality and later career. The strength of the book is the way in which it has gathered together the various vignettes of Hitler’s early life and career. The main weakness of the book is of course the lack of certainty about how an early life event or parental upbringing may or may not influence the later life-path. Here is it assumed to be the case, but this is not always true. The value of the book for my essay however is that it offers another perspective on one of the key figures of world history in the mid-twentieth century.

Schott, G. (2016). Violent Games: Rules, Realism, and Effect. London: Bloomsbury Publishing.

This short monograph focuses specifically on ‘shoot ’em up’ video games and seeks to establish how the rules in these make-believe worlds connect and/or influence ‘the real world’. As part of the on-going discussion of whether violent video games’ players become the perpetrators of violent crime, it is a well-researched and well-argued contribution to the debate. The weakness, given the nature of the debate, is that it cannot as yet reach the definitive conclusion. It provides much of the evidence that I need to discuss in my paper to cover my topic properly.

van den Brink, E., Kapitaikin L. and Rapuano, Y. (2018).  Late Byzantine and Early Islamic Bathhouse Remains and Vestiges of Earlier Periods at Azor, ‘Atiqot 93, 12-73.

This is a detailed archaeological report that provides detailed accounts of various excavations and structures (mostly below datum) that can be positively identified as bath-house structures of one sort or another in the settlement of Azor. What is really interesting is the evidence marshalled to show that there is no discontinuity between Late Byzantine (for the area) and Early Islamic structures; the bathing culture apparently was continuous and was uninterrupted by the invasions and the replacement of one empire by another. In common with many if not most archaeological reports, the paper is heavy on metrics and details that can be measured; it is less developed in the analysis of the findings. However, in a sense, this is of benefit to me as it means I do not have to repeat their analytic findings but may present my own analysis.

Waterson, J. (2010). Sacred Swords: Jihad in the Holy Land 1097-1291. London: Frontline Books.

This monograph by a scholar who has written extensively on the Islamic reaction and response to the Crusades in the Levant focuses on Nuradin and Saladin and how both used the ethos of Jihad to unite Muslim forces in opposition to the Crusaders and the Outremer states. The strength of the book is its focus on the Muslim side in the conflict and how they viewed ‘the enemy’. The general weakness is the whole complexity of the account that needs to be told – from the various city-emirates in the Levant, to the larger players in Egypt and Iraq and the ‘wild cannon’ of the Assassins. The advantage for my paper is the breadth of Muslim sources and viewpoints that are accessed and presented here.



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