Harvest of the university press

Universities all over the world publish academic monographs and scientific journals on the Low Countries. In this article we present you a selection of recent university press publications in English.

Amsterdam University Press / www.aup.nl

Site of Deportation, Site of Memory, The Amsterdam Hollandsche Schouwburg and the Holocaust
Edited by Frank van Vree, Hetty Berg, David Duindam

The Hollandsche Schouwburg is a former theatre in Amsterdam where, during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands, tens of thousands of Jews were assembled before being deported to transit and concentration camps. Before the war, the theatre had been an example of Jewish integration in the Netherlands, and after the war it became a memorial for the Jewish victims of Nazi persecution. This book is the first international publication to address all the historical aspects of the site, putting it in a broader European and historical context.

The ABC of Modern Biography
Nigel Hamilton, Hans Renders

In this book - an ABC of the genre, with 26 entries - two renowned biographers and teachers take us on a tour, from A for Authorization to Z for Zigzagging to the End. In trenchant, witty entries they explore the good, the bad and the plain ugly in modern 'life writing' and the portrayal of real lives today - and how, across history and continents, we got here.

This book will fascinate general readers interested in how real lives are approached by biographers today in a multitude of media. It will make a much-needed contribution in academia, as well as providing an important text for students of history, language and literature, the arts, science and media. And, not least, for biographers trying to avoid the pitfalls of ignorance or ineptitude.

Leiden University Press / www.lup.nl

The Bastion of Liberty, A History of Leiden University
Willem Otterspeer

Leiden University was founded as an institution that would embody a particular set of academic ethics that sought to improve society through the acquisition of knowledge. In this book, author Willem Otterspeer draws on the idea of Leiden as a ‘bastion of liberty’ and proposes that concepts such as ‘equilibrium’ and ‘scale’ are key to understanding the university as an institution, ultimately showing how universities are a form of social capital, one of Western society’s answers to the dilemma of collective action, and an instrument for preserving and restoring continuity in the world.

The Bastion of Liberty offers a complete overview of the history of the University of Leiden since 1575 and therefore covers more than four centuries of the development of this nowadays internationally renowned academic institution.

Willem Otterspeer is professor emeritus of university history at Leiden University.

The Operations of the Navy in the Dutch East Indies and the Bay of Bengal
Willem Remmelink

Between 1966 and 1980, the War History Office of the National Defense College of Japan (now the Center for Military History of the National Institute for Defense Studies) published the 102-volume Senshi Sōsho (War History Series). These volumes give a detailed account of the operations of the Imperial Japanese Army and Imperial Japanese Navy during the Second World War.

The present volume, The Operations of the Navy in the Dutch East Indies and the Bay of Bengal, volume 26 of the series, describes the Japanese Navy’s role in the campaign to gain control over the Indonesian archipelago – at that time the largest transoceanic landing operation in the military history of the world. It includes, among others, the first complete Japanese analysis of the Battle of the Java Sea, a much-debated battle that ended disastrously for the Allies and opened the way to Java for the Japanese.
Historical source translated from Japanese.

Willem Remmelink was the executive director of the Japan-Netherlands Institute in Tokyo for more than twenty-five years. He is a specialist in Japanese and Indonesian history.

Leuven University Press / www.lup.be

Cardinal Mercier in the First World War, Belgium, Germany and the Catholic Church
Jan De Volder

Church leaders and their contrasting opinions in the face of the Great War

Cardinal Désiré-Joseph Mercier, Archbishop of Malines, was the incarnation of the Belgian resistance against the German occupation during the First World War. With his famous pastoral letter of Christmas 1914 ‘Patriotisme et Endurance’ he reached a wide audience, and gained international influence and respect.

Mercier’s distinct patriotic stance clearly determined his views of national politics, especially of the 'Flemish question', and his conflict with the German occupier made him a hero of the Allies. The Germans did not always know how to handle this influential man of the Church. Pope Benedict XV did not always approve of the course of action adopted by the Belgian prelate. Whereas Mercier justified the war effort as a just cause in view of the restoration of Belgium's independence, the Pope feared that "this useless massacre" meant nothing but the "suicide of civilized Europe”.

Through a critical analysis of the policies of Cardinal Mercier and Pope Benedict XV, this book sheds revealing light on the contrasting positions of Church leaders in the face of the Great War.

Jan De Volder is a Belgian historian. Currently, he occupies the Cusanus Chair ‘Religion, Conflict and Peace’ of the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies of the University of Louvain (KU Leuven). He has a special interest in church and religion during World Wars I and II.

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