So the chattering classes are full of grief about the death of their heroine Hilary Mantel. I'm not a historian: but I've not heard well of Mantel's imagined Tudor period. The thought occurs to me that the key to understanding her 'history' might be to see it as an expression of her own need to justify her own loss of the Catholic Faith. Why else should anybody hate S Thomas More ... and his religion?
I have been reading (and have commended recently to you) A Murderous Midsummer by Mark Stoyle. It was published by Yale University Press. And I now also mention and commend The Women are up to something, by Benjamin J. B. Lipscomb. This book was published by Oxford University Press.
Time was, when the universities of Yale and Oxford, and their presses, were regarded as really pretty decent. Yet these two books seem not to have been promoted at all along Oxford's Broad Street, where one expects to find ... er ... bookshops. (By the way, Waterstones, which bought Foyles not long ago, now own Blackwells.)
Go into Backwells, and you will see books galore, with books relating to Oxford itself exactly where nomadic tourists with bulging wallets are going to see them, massed just inside the entrances. But Lipscomb ... his book you will not find. Why? It tells the story of four most distinguished Oxford (women) philosophers, and their profound contributions to Moral Philosophy. The title of this book is taken from the reaction of a male don upon hearing that the brilliant (and profoundly Catholic) moral philosopher Elizabeth Anscombe intended to oppose a motion in Convocation to confer an honorary degree upon President Truman.
Rightly, she deemed it an outrage for the University to honour a war criminal who sanctioned the obliteration of two Japanese cities (incidentally, with large civilian and Catholic populations).
Stoyle's book recounted the massacres, in what we apparently now call the Early Modern period, unleashed upon the Catholic populations of South West England because of their defence of their Faith. I do not get the impresson that Stoyle is a Catholic; but he writes sympathetically. Interestingly, he establishes that the the peasants of Devon and Cornwall rebelled because of their Faith. This is significant and important, because there has been a tendency among some historians to argue that the "real" reasons for the genocide in the South West were social and economic.
A couple, then, of rather 'unwoke' volumes ... for which even academic booksellers appear unwilling to put in a good word.
But I bet you'd have little difficulty filling a wheelbarrow with Mantel.
The difference is that Stoyle treats sympathetically of Catholic populations ruthlessly murdered.
(BTW 1: only three dons supported Anscombe's motion; one of them was Margaret Hubbard, my and my wife's Mods tutor; possibly the cleverest person I have ever met.
BTW 2: I published a piece about the Truman episode as recently as March 18 this year)
Comment 1) From Greyman 82
President Truman was no war criminal. He was a courageous leader of the free world. He had the strength of character to make the difficult, painful decision to drop the atom bombs on Japan. Had the allied invasion of the Japanese home islands gone ahead, the war would have lasted for at least another year and hundreds of thousands of more deaths would have occurred, both Japanese civilians and servicemen on both sides.Comment 2) From Banshee
The Japanese government openly and repeatedly declared that every single one of their citizens, including babies, were soldiers. They made all their citizens wear various uniforms during working hours or while in public. (This is when most Japanese women began wearing panties/knickers instead of shifts and loincloths, because kimono underwear did not work with their designated uniform.)
They also declared, and made serious plans to enforce, the deaths in battle or suicide of every single Japanese citizen, and demonstrated the workability of their plans on Okinawa and other islands.
So I don't know what you wanted the Allies to do.
Comment 3) From frjustin
A native of Nagasaki, Kimota, who works for the Nagasaki Prefecture Convention and Tourism Association has a lengthy article on Truman as a war criminal posted on September 16, 2022. He writes:
"During his presidency, President Truman was fully aware of the terrible impact of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In his memoirs, The White House Diary, Truman stated,'I am uneasy because of the deaths and injuries that this bomb caused. I wish I could have prevented it from being dropped.'
Truman believed that the bombing was required to end World War II. Truman stated in his memoirs that he believed the atomic bomb would work.
Despite the fact that the United States won the war, President Truman is not considered a war criminal. Using the atomic bombs was the right thing to do, and he was correct in doing so."