Shane Ewen, What is Urban History? (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2016). One of the wonderful things about starting a new project is the need to understand the developments, debates and discussions surrounding the field in which your research is situated. This is especially true if you are stepping into a new field of research as I am doing at the moment. Although the main focus of my current research is sited within the rubric of the field of transport history, it does touch on other historical fields. The most notable of these being urban history. It axiomatic that there is a link between these two historical fields. Indeed, as Ewen (p. 37), on discussing the work of Kenneth Johnson, highlighted in this book, ‘mass transport in the second half of the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth century […] fundamentally chang[ed] the spatial layout of the city, ushering in a new era of segregation based on class and income.’ Polity Press have for some years now produced a series of ‘What is’ books that seek to introduce readers to critical issues, developments, and debates within a given historical field. I have read and used their What is Military History? title before, and this volume appears to be just as well thought out. I just need someone to write a similar volume on transport history!
Header Image: An aerial view of Brisbane City and Kangaroo Point by F.W. Thiel, 1919 (Source: State Library of Queensland)