A scholarly, entertaining look at the objectives and techniques of economic historiography. Cipolla (Economics and History/Berkeley) explains that economic historians must rely on business and political documents and other numismatic, artistic, and cultural evidence contemporary to the period they are studying, but cannot take such data at face value. Because of human error, purposeful falsification of records for a wide variety of motives, and lack of emphasis in certain cultures on precise record-keeping, the economic historian must play sleuth. In addition, Cipolla summarizes the myriad sources of economic history—including warehouse accounts, tax receipts, customs registers, legislative sources, contemporary statistical compilations, foreign intelligence reports, church records. Indeed, he shows, the most mundane residue from vanished societies (records of baptisms, legal records, deeds of gift, etc.) can provide the economic historian with valuable information. Cipolla argues convincingly that the modern community of economic historians, in its emphasis on purely mathematical analyses of economic aspects, has put too much distance between itself and purely historical scholarship. While recognizing that economic history investigates economic phenomena, he argues persuasively that economic history is a distinctly historical enterprise that uses tools different from those of economics to answer distinctly different questions. Cipolla's presentation of economic history as a humanistic rather than scientific discipline makes economic historiography seem fascinating and rather fun.

Pub Date: July 29, 1991

ISBN: 0-393-02977-8

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1991



This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996




An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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