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Scandal in Pittsburgh

David Nasaw: Andrew Mellon, 19 July 2007

Mellon: An American Life 
by David Cannadine.
Allen Lane, 779 pp., £30, November 2006, 0 7139 9508 4
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... their personal lives. ‘Though Judge Mellon had rebelled decisively against his own father,’ David Cannadine writes in his new biography of the judge’s son Andrew, ‘he had no intention of tolerating any such conduct in the next generation … The judge regarded his sons as essentially extensions of himself.’ When Andrew Mellon was in his ...


Rodney Hilton, 21 January 1988

Rituals of Royalty: Power and Ceremonial in Traditional Societies 
edited by David Cannadine and Simon Price.
Cambridge, 351 pp., £25, August 1987, 0 521 33513 2
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... of fascinating studies, ranging from Babylon to 20th-century Ghana, from China to Madagascar. David Cannadine, in his Introduction, says that the topics covered are mainly pre-modern and therefore outside the scope of most professional historians. In their Acknowledgments, however, the two editors refer to the ‘rites of passage’ of contemporary ...


Norman Stone, 21 July 1983

The Invention of Tradition 
edited by Eric Hobsbawm and Terence Ranger.
Cambridge, 320 pp., £17.50, March 1983, 0 521 24645 8
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... and entertaining contributions. Hugh Trevor-Roper discusses the origins of Scottish kitsch; David Cannadine the (not at all remote) origins of British royal ritual; other contributions concern British rule in India and Welsh cultural identity (treated more respectfully than Trevor-Roper treats poor old Scotland). Eric Hobsbawm both introduces and ...

Principal Ornament

José Harris, 3 December 1992

G.M. Trevelyan: A life in History 
by David Cannadine.
HarperCollins, 288 pp., £18, September 1992, 0 00 215872 8
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... and dominated popular understanding of the nations’s common past for more than half a century. David Cannadine’s characteristically spirited and combative study is more than just an intellectual biography: it is a work of piety, advocacy and passion. He uses the corpus of Trevelyan’s historical writings over fifty years ...


Lawrence Stone, 22 November 1990

The Decline and Fall of the British Aristocracy 
by David Cannadine.
Yale, 813 pp., £19.95, October 1990, 0 300 04761 4
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... important, so, tragic, and yet in the last analysis so necessary and so inevitable a change. What Cannadine has done is, for the first time, to survey and display the whole grand panorama. Taking the Weberian triad of wealth, power and status as his architectural framework, he traces how the British landed establishment has for over a century slid inexorably ...

How We Got to Where We Are

Peter Ghosh, 28 November 1996

Hope and Glory: Britain 1900-1990 
by Peter Clarke.
Allen Lane, 454 pp., £25, October 1996, 0 7139 9071 6
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... In 1987, David Cannadine concluded an essay on what he saw as the dark and doubtful state of British history with a call to ‘fashion a new version of the national past which can regain its place in our general national culture, and become once again an object of international interest’. A job application posted through the unusual medium of a scholarly journal? I doubt it, but it may be that this essay found its way onto a desk at Penguin Books, leading to Cannadine’s appointment, in 1988, as general editor of the new Penguin History of Britain ...


Sidney Pollard, 2 April 1981

Lords and Landlords: The Aristocracy and the Towns, 1774-1967 
by David Cannadine.
Leicester University Press, 494 pp., £19, July 1980, 0 7185 1152 2
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... them were some of the most noble families in the land. This theme is not entirely neglected in David Cannadine’s book – it inevitably rears its head on many occasions – but it does not form the main focus of his interest. This is a pity, for there can be few historians equally familiar with both the general social history and the particular ...

Footing the bill

Jonathan Parry, 9 June 1994

Aspects of Aristocracy: Grandeur and Decline in Modern Britain 
by David Cannadine.
Yale, 321 pp., £19.50, April 1994, 0 300 05981 7
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... people’; Lord Curzon’s political career was ‘an ultimate failure’. These quotations from David Cannadine’s collection of essays, Aspects of Aristocracy, show that, for all his gifts, he would not be a front-runner for the editorship of Country Life. Few historians bring more energy and relish to chronicling the shortcomings of titled or famous ...

Refuge of the Aristocracy

Paul Smith: The British Empire, 21 June 2001

Ornamentalism: How the British Saw Their Empire 
by David Cannadine.
Allen Lane, 264 pp., £16.99, May 2001, 0 7139 9506 8
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... Leo Amery’s Birmingham, sixty years or so later, empire did not mean a great deal, to judge by David Cannadine’s memoir of his not very imperial childhood which he appends to his new book. Cannadine’s aim is to answer P.D. Morgan’s challenge to envisage the empire as ‘an entire interactive system, one vast ...


Robert Macfarlane: The Mulberry Empire by Philip Hensher, 4 April 2002

The Mulberry Empire 
by Philip Hensher.
Flamingo, 560 pp., £17.99, April 2002, 0 00 711226 2
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... itself in many ways a grand pastiche: a de luxe effort of style. As Jan Morris and, more recently, David Cannadine have argued, the British elicited respect from their subjects abroad by spectacle as well as by force, exporting to their various dominions a home-grown instinct for pomp and ceremony, inflected with local colour to produce in each country a ...

What are we at war about?

Isaac Land: Nelson the Populist, 1 December 2005

The Pursuit of Victory: The Life and Achievement of Horatio Nelson 
by Roger Knight.
Allen Lane, 874 pp., £30, July 2005, 0 7139 9619 6
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Admiral Lord Nelson: Context and Legacy 
edited by David Cannadine.
Palgrave, 201 pp., £19.99, June 2005, 1 4039 3906 3
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... Dibdin to compose patriotic songs about saucy, lovable and brave sailor lads. The essays in David Cannadine’s collection illustrate the many ways that Nelson-worship served the war effort. Kathleen Wilson observes that his wounded body became ‘the screen upon which all those who had fought . . . who had lost their limbs or senses or a loved ...

One Nation

José Harris, 23 June 1988

The Health Services since the War. Vol. I: Problems of Health Care: The National Health Service before 1957 
by Charles Webster.
HMSO, 479 pp., £27.50, April 1988, 0 11 630942 3
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... during the period under review. Is this an example of the new ‘tory’ history, identified by David Cannadine and others, in which the systematic dismantling of the epic events of yesteryear both symbolises and contributes to British national decline? Perhaps, but I do not think so. Though Dr Webster’s account is more complex and less heroic than ...

Short Cuts

Ferdinand Mount: Untilled Fields, 1 July 2021

... and friend. There are at least two reasons for this. The story has often been told, notably by David Cannadine, of how the long agricultural depression broke the power of the British aristocracy, but it also drove tenant famers and labourers off the land and into the cities and suburbs; a million or more had emigrated by 1914. As a legacy of this ...


W.G. Runciman: Like a Prep School, 10 January 1991

... The publisher’s launching party for David Cannadine’s Decline and Fall of the British Aristocracy in the Moses Room of the House of Lords on 22 October was the third occasion on which I had been inside that curious place since taking my seat as a hereditary member of it. The Moses Room is evidently so called because its walls depict, in tableaux more impressive for their size than their quality, the appropriate Old Testament scenes ...

World’s Greatest Statesman

Edward Luttwak, 11 March 1993

Churchill: The End of Glory 
by John Charmley.
Hodder, 648 pp., £30, January 1993, 9780340487952
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Churchill: A Major New Assessment of his Life in Peace and War 
edited by Robert Blake and Wm Roger Louis.
Oxford, 517 pp., £19.95, February 1993, 0 19 820317 9
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... experts, it too will have been elected for nought.) And the platoon’s roll still goes on, with David Reynolds on 1940 (not this book’s finest chapter), Henry Pelling on ‘... and the Labour Movement’ (Commies are included), Max Beloff on ‘... and Europe’, and Sarvepalli Gopal on ‘... and India’ – Gopal unaccountably holds a grudge against ...

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