Bloomsbury Cultural History - BCH Sets Reviews

A Cultural History of Animals

The Cultural History of Animals presents an innovative and compelling introduction to current scholarship about the historical relationships between people and other animals.
- Harriet Ritvo, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

An innovative and ambitious project that synthesizes knowledge of animals as living creatures and their symbolic representations... an invaluable contribution to our understanding...A combination of surprise and entertainment with serious research gives these volumes a place in the best tradition of accessible science.
- Bernd Hüppauf, New York University, H-Soz-u-Kult

High quality editing, clear writing, and abundant visual illustrations ... These volumes will be basic to future scholarship dealing with animals and society. Essential.
- Choice

Provide informative and enjoyable reading, and should inculcate desires for histories of animals in other cultures and elaborations of histories already presented. Each volume is attractive and well made, and has its own (thorough) bibliography.
- Robert W. Mitchell, Anthrozoos (Volume 22, Issue 3)

A Cultural History of Childhood and Family

Impressive ... There is so much in this encyclopaedia that it would be impossible to cover it all in the space of one short review. It does, as Foyster intended, bring together a wealth of infomration and analysis of childhood and family, and how these have developed and changed according to social, geographical and political factors. This set would be of great use in both social science and literature collections, and I can see this appealing to school-age students as well as undergraduates and academics.
- Reference Reviews

A Cultural History of Dress and Fashion

Covering this amount of ground is ambitious, but the effort is largely successful … [The] diversity of voices and approaches strengthens the discussion. One finds intriguing, surprising, and thought-provoking essays covering many cultural layers of dress history.
- Choice

This is a sumptuous series, as rich in ideas as it is in its descriptions of silks and satins, cashmeres and furs.
- Times Literary Supplement

This six volume reappraisal of fashion history provides readers with essays by established scholars and newcomers to the discipline from America, Australasia and Europe; their combined expertise demonstrates that studying dress and fashion is essential to the understanding of history and material culture from antiquity to the modern era.
- Costume: The Journal of the Costume Society

A Cultural History of Dress and Fashion is a valuable addition to the expanding literature on the place of clothing in the development of society in Europe and America. In volumes ranging from Antiquity to the present, scholars have addressed connecting themes with skill and care. Their work captures key developments in the evolution and meaning of fashion across time and space and is informed by the latest research. Handsome and authoritative, A Cultural History will enhance any library.
- Christopher Breward, President of the Edinburgh College of Art, UK

The history of dress has always demanded interdisciplinarity. Few if any garments can stand apart from their context and retain meaning. To truly understand dress and fashion it is necessary to probe the social and aesthetic forces from which it is derived. This series demonstrates the deep value of considering these forces, and the result is a much deeper appreciation and understanding of how the fashion of any given period came to be.
- Jean Druesedow, Kent State University

A Cultural History of Dress and Fashion will provoke rich inquiry into how one thinks about the study of fashion. This is the true strength of the set. It would be a useful addition to academic or special libraries with that focus.
- ARLIS/NA Reviews

A Cultural History of Food

[T]he six volumes of A Cultural History of Food provide an enlightening and fascinating insight into the history of food and its development throughout history in an authoritative and accessible style.
- Louise Ellis-Barrett, Social Sciences

This comprehensive history of food is helpfully constructed so readers can learn about food production across time periods or consider every facet of food in a particular period. The volumes are written at a level that is appropriate for both high school libraries as well as academic ones; the set will also be a natural fit in the library of a culinary institute or other specialized food environment.
- Christine Sharbrough, Derry Public Library, Library Journal

A Cultural History of Gardens

Works of this stature and interest appear at rare intervals and this indeed is an eagerly anticipated moment and an achievement to savour... Mark Laird...marries detailed historical understanding of our garden plants with an empirical knowledge of their use... John Dixon Hunt [is] an outstanding scholar with wide interests, a firm institutional base, and one whose whole energy is focussed on the promotion of garden history.
- Christina Dyson & Richard Aitken, Australian Garden History

VERDICT A wonderful resource for people interested in landscape architecture or anyone looking for an in-depth exploration of the cultural significance of gardens.
- Susanne Caro, University of Montana Libary, Missoula, Library Journal

This crossdisciplinary set of six books is a much-needed cultural history of Eurocentric garden traditions from ancient times to today, offering readers glimpses into various past worlds and new views of their own … [F]ascinating and informative … Although the series primarily addresses itself to landscape architects and garden historians, it will prove rewarding for many others: historians, historians of art and literature, filmmakers, archaeologists, students of environmental history and the built environment, and amateur gardeners. And though analogous chapters across periods do not function identically, in general their complex tasks have been executed with clarity, intelligence, and grace. The project as a whole is well conceived and carried out.
- Mara Miller, Landscape

A Cultural History of Hair

A thick, tangled and deliciously idiosyncratic history of hair ... There is plenty to inform and intrigue here, partly because the study of hair demands an exhilarating disciplinary range: from the art of cuts and colours, the history of scissors, razors and combs and the sociology of barbershops, to the semiotics of hair pulling and lock tugging, the ethnography of “Afros”, and the sexual politics of boyish bobs ... The volumes appeal to period-specific scholars, but also slot together, forming a continuous, braided history.
-Times Literary Supplement

A Cultural History of the Human Body

Written in a readable and accessible style, this set can support a number of undergraduate programs in cultural and historical topics. A valuable ready-reference source for supporting undergraduate education.
- Library Journal

A Cultural History of the Senses

As part of Classen’s larger series, the book will be a desirable addition to student-focused libraries ... Toner’s volume succeeds in demonstrating how “antiquity ... was a period when the senses were experienced vividly".
- Canadian Journal of History/Annales Canadiennes d’Histoire

[A] diverse and stimulating collection of essays on the senses in the age of empire ... [that] offers an extraordinarily rich and compelling exploration of the senses ... This book succeeds as a history that offers illuminating analysis and discussion necessary to sketch out the wider social and cultural debates. Yet the chapters will undoubtedly offer fresh perspectives and insights to readers with expertise in the subject matter of individual essays ... [W]hichever of its chapters you turn to, or if you read the book from cover to cover in one sitting, you will find yourself wanting to go back for a second helping – to immerse yourself in this rich sensory exploration of nineteenth- and early twentieth- century history and culture.
- Victorian Network

Over the past couple of decades, sensory historians have been working to restore taste, touch, smell and hearing to our understanding of the past. Some of the dividends of this approach are on display in the six highly engaging and authoritative volumes that have been gathered together as A Cultural History of the Senses under the general editorship of historian Constance Classen [...] These impressive volumes enable us to venture beyond the credo that 'seeing is believing' and to better appreciate the original iteration of that phrase as it was used in the medieval period: 'Seeing is believing but feeling’s the truth.' For the same reason, A Cultural History of the Senses reminds us that histories of smell, sound, taste and touch—as well as of sight—are remarkably useful in helping us remember that the truth is more complex than it might first appear.
- Mark M. Smith, The Wall Street Journal

What exactly is the enterprise [of this work]? Most obviously, it is to take historical inquiry into a new area. More ambitiously, it is to extend and perhaps even alter our understanding of areas we already think we know. Most excitingly, we can hope that it might extend our understanding of the relations more generally between biology, circumstance, sensation and expression.
- Geoffrey Hawthorn, Times Literary Supplement

An authoritative and, undoubtedly, the most comprehensive distillation of work in this field … If you have not yet discovered this field, your journey starts here.
- Cultural and Social History

This is an extraordinary and intriguing book series ... I don’t think I have ever come across anything quite like it.
- Reference Reviews

A Cultural History of Sexuality

{BOTTOM LINE} Upper-division undergraduate and graduate students will find this overview of the progression of thought about sexuality in the Western world helpful in their studies of social history, cultural history, and gender.
- Martha Hardy, Metropolitan State University Library, Library Journal

A Cultural History of Theatre

All six volumes are aesthetically attractive, with well-chosen cover illustrations in color and numerous halftones throughout. Page layouts with wide margins, good paper, subtitles, generous bibliographies, notes, and index all add to the appeal. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty and professionals; general readers.
- Choice

Not since the Cambridge History of American Theatre (1998–2000) has a multiauthored theatre history been as anticipated as Bloomsbury’s A Cultural History of Theatre… Having read all six volumes (1,636 pages), I can testify to the magnitude of their accomplishment. A Cultural History of Theatre is a profound reconsideration of how we understand theatre, its myriad social contexts, and the cultural work it accomplishes… the product of intellectual labor and creativity, and its accomplishments are many. A landmark work in theatre and social history, it illuminates theatre through the lens of culture, and culture through the lens of theatre.
- Theatre Survey

A Cultural History of Western Empires

Each volume could successfully stand alone as a reference work on an era: Antiquity, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the Age of Enlightenment, the Age of Empire, and the Modern Age ... The introductory essay to each is a valuable resource for comparing traditional political and economic histories with the more critical and cultural works presented in subsequent chapters. Accompanying each volume is a list of illustrations, notes, further reading, and an index ... Overall, students seeking a comparative, interdisciplinary, and compelling account of the spread of Western empires will find much of interest here. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty.
- Choice

A Cultural History of Women

This ambitious series traces the lives and experiences of women throughout history ... Absorbing.
- History Today

The essays making up this six-volume set are entertaining, insightful, debatable, scholarly and yet accessible. Arguments are presented that are new, deserving of debate and consideration. Old arguments resurface for new consideration ... The result is a comprehensive overview of women culturally through two and a half thousand years of history.
- Reference Reviews

Chapters are well researched and feature numerous illustrations. Each volume ends with chapter notes and an extensive bibliography. VERDICT An excellent starting point for projects requiring information about the cultural history of women, and a worthwhile addition to academic collections, especially those with a strong women’s and gender studies program.
- Diane Fulkerson, University of South Florida, Library Journal

Highly recommended for academic libraries—a must for those with women’s-studies programs—and large public libraries.
- Lyndsie Robinson, Booklist

“Not since the Cambridge History of American Theatre (1998–2000) has a multiauthored theatre history been as anticipated as Bloomsbury’s A Cultural History of Theatre … Having read all six volumes (1,636 pages), I can testify to the magnitude of their accomplishment. A Cultural History of Theatre is a profound reconsideration of how we understand theatre, its myriad social contexts, and the cultural work it accomplishes… the product of intellectual labor and creativity, and its accomplishments are many. A landmark work in theatre and social history, it illuminates theatre through the lens of culture, and culture through the lens of theatre.”
- Theatre Survey

A Cultural History of Work

This format allows a reader to pursue a single topic within the 2,500-years of the history of work in the West ... As an example, the chapters on workers’ mobility trace a fascinating range of activity and examine the vast variety of documents and texts available to historians to analyze this topic … [Programs] such as economics, American and world history, women’s studies, and art history will benefit from the information herein.
- American Reference Books Annual