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)