Acquisitions

Thomas Hippler. Bombing the People: Giulio Douhet and the Foundations of Air-Power Strategy, 1884-1939. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013. There are very few studies of Douhet in English, and none since Azar Gat's Fascist and Liberal Visions of War (1998), so I'm very excited to see this. Even leafing through it it's obvious that there is a lot of valuable stuff here: for example, on Douhet's surprisingly pacifistic views before 1914. It doesn't look like there is much on the question of the wider influence of Douhetism outside Italy, but I suspect it will be all the better for it.

David J. Hufford. The Terror that Comes in the Night: An Experience-Centred Study of Supernatural Assault Traditions. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania, 1982. This and the next two books fall outside of the subject matter of this blog: I bought them as methodological inspiration for the problem of how to approach people claiming to see things for which no objective evidence exists, vis-à-vis my ongoing mystery aircraft project. I actually devoted a whole blog post to this book without having actually read it, so it's about time I owned a copy.

Peter Lamont. Extraordinary Beliefs: A Historical Approach to a Psychological Problem. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013. The 'psychological problem' here is essentially the same one I'm interested in: why do people believe extraordinary things? The 'historical approach' refers to Lamont's use of the history of spiritualism and psychic research to this end. It appears to trip lightly over the decades and centuries in a way I probably wouldn't be comfortable doing, but that's not always a bad thing.

Brian P. Levack. The Devil Within: Possession & Exorcism in the Christian West. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2013. This is much more traditional history, unsurprisingly since it's written by a historian, not a folklorist or a psychologist. Levack argues that medical or psychological explanations for demonic possession cases are ahistorical, and that we should consider demoniacs as following a cultural script. How useful for me this is idea is, I'm not sure: where did the cultural script for seeing phantom airship come from, how did it arise so quickly? Something to think about.

Matthew S. Seligmann. The Royal Navy and the German Threat, 1901-1914: Admiralty Plans to Protect British Trade in a War Against Germany. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012. Back to some air... er, seapower. Actually, this has some relevance for my recent interest in the naval dimensions of the 1913 phantom airship scare, as well as the knock-out blow theory. Also has a very useful discussion of archival sources, including some scathing comments about the Admiralty's archivists who decided to destroy 98% of ADM 1 in the 1950s and 1960s! Ouch.

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