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The Innocence Campaign

Isabel Hull: The Sinking of the ‘Lusitania’, 2 February 2017

‘Lusitania’: The Cultural History of a Catastrophe 
by Willi Jasper, translated by Stewart Spencer.
Yale, 233 pp., £18.99, September 2016, 978 0 300 22138 1
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... At​ 9 a.m. on 7 May 1915, the commander of U-Boat-20, Lieutenant Walther Schwieger, troubled by low fuel and heavy fog, decided to end his marauding in the Irish Sea and return to Wilhelmshaven. Shortly after one o’clock, he took a last look around through his periscope. The fog had lifted and in his sights was ‘a big passenger steamer’. Without hesitation, he fired a single bow-shot; an initial great explosion was followed shortly by another ...

Except for His Father

Isabel Hull: The Origins of Genocide, 16 June 2016

East West Street: On the Origins of Genocide and Crimes against Humanity 
by Philippe Sands.
Weidenfeld, 437 pp., £20, May 2016, 978 1 4746 0190 0
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... Before​ 1914, Lemberg was the fourth largest city in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The multilingual, multicultural capital of the semi-autonomous province of Galicia, Lemberg was half Polish, a quarter Jewish and a fifth Ruthenian (Ukrainian). In addition to its cosmopolitan attractions (an opera house, a large museum, a university), it was also home to Austria’s easternmost fortress ...

Anything Can Be Rescinded

Isabel Hull: When can you start a war?, 26 April 2018

The Internationalists and Their Plan to Outlaw War 
by Oona Hathaway and Scott Shapiro.
Allen Lane, 608 pp., £30, September 2017, 978 0 241 20070 4
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... The​ Paris Peace Pact of 1928 is a treaty few remember and which is ridiculed by many of those who do. Otherwise known as the Kellogg-Briand Pact – after its authors, the US secretary of state, Frank Kellogg, and his French counterpart, Aristide Briand – its signatories agreed to ‘condemn recourse to war for the solution of international controversies, and renounce it, as an instrument of national policy in their relations with one another ...

At least we worried

Susan Pedersen: International Law after WW1, 18 June 2015

A Scrap of Paper: Breaking and Making International Law during the Great War 
by Isabel Hull.
Cornell, 384 pp., £29.50, April 2014, 978 0 8014 5273 4
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... them excellent, almost all packed with narrative excitement, but not all breaking new ground – Isabel Hull’s stands out. There is no human interest, no lice and dysentery, but it is as gripping and important as any. It is concerned not with the experience of war but with legal arguments over its prosecution, and it began as a modest research project ...

Theme-Park Prussia

David Blackbourn, 24 November 1994

Prussia: The Perversion of an Idea 
by Giles MacDonogh.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 456 pp., £20, July 1994, 1 85619 267 9
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... or was it her? – friends. Social exclusiveness as such is not an issue here: John Röhl and Isabel Hull, following Norbert Elias, have shown what we can learn by looking at court society and the aristocratic milieu. The problem arises when the part is confused with the whole, MacDonogh’s symbol of the 19th-century flight from East to West is ...

Too Much

Barbara Taylor: A history of masturbation, 6 May 2004

Solitary Sex: A Cultural History of Masturbation 
by Thomas Laqueur.
Zone, 501 pp., £21.95, March 2003, 1 890951 32 3
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... anti-masturbation and anti-credit rhetoric is one of the book’s chief joys.) Everywhere, as Isabel Hull showed in her pioneering Sexuality, State and Civil Society in Germany 1700-1815 (1996), civilisation teetered on a cliff edge of excess. One leading Aufklärer, quoted by Hull, expressed the dilemma ...

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