I ordered these before I realised just how broke I'll be after the UK trip. Oy vey ...

David Clarke and Andy Roberts. Flying Saucerers: A Social History of Ufology. Loughborough: Alternative Albion, 2007. A social history of British ufology, at any rate. Did you know that Air Chief Marshal Lord Dowding believed that UFOs were interplanetary spacecraft? Well, you do now.

Stanley Cohen. Folk Devils and Moral Panics: The Creation of the Mods and Rockers. Abingdon: Routledge, 2002. Third edition. Classic.

Beau Grosscup. Strategic Terror: The Politics and Ethics of Aerial Bombardment. London and New York: Zed Books, 2006. Rather polemical, and I don't like his reliance upon Trenchard and Liddell Hart as representative of British airpower advocates. But it seems to have more theoretical approach to the subject than most, which is kind of interesting in itself; and it was cheap!

Ross McKibbin. Classes and Cultures: England 1918-1951. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000. Another nice, fat social/cultural history which I'll apparently never have time to read. Didn't realise the author was Australian.

Ian Patterson. Guernica and Total War. London: Profile Books, 2007. This has already been mentioned here a couple of times in recent days; uses Guernica as a starting point to explore total air war, via the fears of bombing as expressed in popular literature. Unlike Grosscup (above), it looks like he's read all the right books!

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5 thoughts on “Acquisitions

  1. McKibbin is essential, though probably too thick to wade through from start to finish. Read in excerpts as you need it. Another good book to accompany this is Joanna Bourke's Working-Class Cultures in Britain 1890-1960.

    Cohen is important for theory. Most of the material in Folk Devils is too chronologically late for you, I would think.

    ISTR that Dowding was a bit of a nutter when off duty - prone to extensive musings on spiritualism and what-not.

  2. Post author

    McKibbin: I suppose ... but I like reading big thick books cover to cover, if they're interesting!

    Bourke: thanks, already got it!

    Cohen: yes, the theory is exactly what I'm interested in.

    Dowding: indeed, and his interest in spiritualism predated his interest in UFOs. This is what his Wikipedia entry has on the subject:

    In his retirement Dowding became actively interested in spiritualism, both as a writer and speaker. His first book on the subject, Many Mansions, was written in 1943, followed by Lychgate (1945), The Dark Star and God's Magic. Rejecting conventional Christianity he joined the Theosophical Society which advocated belief in reincarnation. He insisted to his friend Lord Beaverbrook that he had been the leader of a Mongol tribe in a previous life. He also espoused the cause of animal welfare. An evangelist with a belief in life after death he wrote in Lychgate of meeting dead 'RAF boys' in his sleep -- spirits who flew fighters from mountain-top runways made of light. One of his former pilots was to comment years later: "at that stage we thought Stuffy had gone a bit ga ga".

    Really, I can't see why they would think that ...

  3. Also, on the theory of moral panic:

    Erich Goode & Nachman Ben-Yehuda, Moral Panic: The Social Constructions of Deviance. 1994

    Arnold Hunt, “‘Moral Panic’ and Moral Language in the Media,” British Journal of Sociology 48:4 (1997).

  4. The Hunt article is probably the most useful of all, as it's a summary and critique of all the theoretical work that's been done on moral panic since Cohen.

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