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24 January 1985
The Idea of Poverty: England in the Early Industrial Age 
by Gertrude Himmelfarb.
Faber, 595 pp., £20, March 1984, 0 571 13177 8
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... Divine authority and empirical observation are, by definition, rarely in accord, but they do at least agree on this: that the poor are always with us. Chastity may have gone the way of all flesh, and obedience may have been banished from the marriage service, but poverty – grinding, inexorable, ineradicable – remains: not a state voluntarily embraced on the road to salvation, but a condition unavoidably ...
18 May 1989
The Pleasures of the Past 
by David Cannadine.
Collins, 338 pp., £17.50, March 1989, 0 00 215664 4
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... and punch. What livewire or quicksilver – dynamo or dynamite – can be responsible for such truly transatlantic triumphs? Is it a bird, is it a plane? Well, as often as not, it turns out to be DavidCannadine – easily mistaken for a plane, of course, because, as he confides in this volume of collected reviews, ‘not a few were pondered and drafted in mid-air.’ Now that this brilliant brain ...

Ceremonies

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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... This is a collection of fascinating studies, ranging from Babylon to 20th-century Ghana, from China to Madagascar. DavidCannadine, 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 ...

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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... He schooled his older boys at home, chose the businesses they should enter, and kept careful watch over their personal lives. ‘Though Judge Mellon had rebelled decisively against his own father,’ DavidCannadine 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 ...

Pastiche

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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... The editors of this volume might agree with such sentiments. Their book contains knowledgeable and entertaining contributions. Hugh Trevor-Roper discusses the origins of Scottish kitsch; DavidCannadine 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 ...

Urban Humanist

Sydney Checkland

15 September 1983
Exploring the Urban Past: Essays in Urban History by H.J. Dyos 
edited by David Cannadine and David​ Reeder.
Cambridge, 258 pp., £20, September 1982, 0 521 24624 5
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Themes in Urban History: Patricians, Power and Politics in 19th-Century Towns 
edited by David Cannadine.
Leicester University Press, 224 pp., £16.50, October 1982, 9780718511937
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... history, except perhaps in his studies of speculative house-builders. These self-imposed limitations stemmed from the basic nature of his approach. He tended to begin with urban agglomeration (what David Reeder in his useful introduction calls ‘accretive growth’), seen as a process of population concentration, with resultant shifts in the national rural-urban balance, together with related ...
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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... of letters’, and later as the Cambridge Regius Professor and Master of Trinity College, he defined and dominated popular understanding of the nations’s common past for more than half a century. DavidCannadine’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 ...

Country Life

David Cannadine

5 November 1981
The Victorian Countryside 
edited by G.E. Mingay.
Routledge, 380 pp., £25, July 1981, 0 7100 0734 5
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... of shopkeepers, carriers and publicans, and the varied and contracting tasks of the country craftsmen. The rural proletariat (both male and female) also gets its due, and in the concluding essay, David Hey reminds us of the industrialised villages that lurked in the countryside. Here, fully revealed for the first time, is the world of the rural town, with middle-class, skilled artisans and ...

Dukology

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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... subject, with large implications for the destiny of Britain, and it has met a historian worthy of so 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 ...

Victorian Piles

David Cannadine

18 March 1982
The Albert Memorial: The Monument in its Social and Architectural Context 
by Stephen Bayley.
Scholar Press, 160 pp., £18.50, September 1981, 0 85967 594 7
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Victorian and Edwardian Town Halls 
by Colin Cunningham.
Routledge, 315 pp., £25, July 1981, 9780710007230
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... The English were not very good at commemorating their great men during the first three-quarters of the 19th century. The competition to select designs for the Nelson memorial was not held until 1838, and another three decades elapsed before the Trafalgar ensemble was completed with the addition of Landseer’s lions. The first major Wellington statue was placed, King Kong-like, atop Decimus Burton’s ...

Perpetual Sunshine

David Cannadine

2 July 1981
The Gentleman’s Country House and its Plan, 1835-1914 
by Jill Franklin.
Routledge, 279 pp., £15.95, February 1981, 0 7100 0622 5
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... With the possible and significant exception of the steam-engine, no artifact in modern England has been the object of such fanciful, romanticised and well-articulated veneration as the country house. Nineteenth-century novelists, like Surtees or Trollope, tended to give minutely-detailed accounts of country-house life, which were more precise than rhapsodic. But during the first half of this century ...

Something to Do

David Cannadine

23 September 1993
Witness of a Century: The Life and Times of Prince Arthur of Connaught, 1850-1942 
by Noble Frankland.
Shepheard-Walwyn, 476 pp., £22.95, June 1993, 0 85683 136 0
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... Few reputations are so fragile or ephemeral as those of minor modern royalty – the brothers and sisters, uncles and aunts, younger sons and daughters, cousins and more distant relatives of big daddy and the queen bee. By birth and by definition, they are lifelong occupants of the substitutes’ bench, permanent understudies for the starring roles which rarely if ever come their way, too near the ...

Odd Union

David Cannadine

20 October 1994
Mrs Jordan’s Profession: The Story of a Great Actress and a Future King 
by Claire Tomalin.
Viking, 415 pp., £18, October 1994, 0 670 84159 5
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... The task of rescuing women from the chauvinistic condescension of male posterity has thus far been unevenly undertaken and incompletely accomplished. Writers and actresses, suffragettes and nuns, servants and prostitutes, have fared relatively well. But upper-class women – Clio’s own sisters, cousins and aunts – have received much less attention. Studies of aristocratic ladies are few and far ...
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, DavidCannadine 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 ...

Townlords

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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... the capitalists: it proved to be just as profitable for large numbers of landlords, and included among them were some of the most noble families in the land. This theme is not entirely neglected in DavidCannadine’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 ...

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