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20 March 1980
On Historians 
by J.H. Hexter.
Collins, 310 pp., £6.95, September 1979, 0 00 216623 2
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... in mirrors which reflect other mirrors, neither the gunman nor his human target any longer has much idea of what exactly is going on. It was in this doubting frame of mind that I approached J.H.Hexter’s On Historians, a collection of major book reviews. The moment I began reading the list of contents I was made aware of my own provincialism. Of the seven historians studied in the book, I was ...

Rolodex Man

Mark Kishlansky

31 October 1996
Liberty against the Law: Some 17th-Century Controversies 
by Christopher Hill.
Allen Lane, 354 pp., £25, April 1996, 0 7139 9119 4
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The Rise and Fall of Revolutionary England: An Essay on the Fabrication of 17th-Century History 
by Alastair MacLaclan.
Macmillan, 431 pp., £13.99, April 1996, 0 333 62009 7
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... is transformed into advocacy’ and that he approached his evidence with his ‘conclusions already determined’. Twenty years ago Hill’s scholarship was assaulted with unmatched ferocity by J.H.Hexter, who accused him of source mining and ‘lumping’ together decontextualised quotations, many of which were irrelevant or contradictory to the points they were supposed to be proving. Ten years ago ...

Good History

Christopher Hill

5 March 1981
After the Reformation: Essays in Honour of J.H.​ Hexter 
edited by Barbara Malament.
Manchester, 363 pp., £17.95, December 1980, 0 7190 0805 0
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Puritans and Adventurers 
by T.H. Breen.
Oxford, 270 pp., £10, October 1980, 0 19 502728 0
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On History 
by Fernand Braudel, translated by Sarah Matthews.
Weidenfeld, 226 pp., £10.95, January 1981, 0 297 77880 3
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Sociology and History 
by Peter Burke.
Allen and Unwin, 116 pp., £6.95, August 1980, 0 19 502728 0
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... Professor Hexter made his mark in the learned world over forty years ago with an article in the American Historical Review called ‘The Problem of the Presbyterian Independents’. He pointed out that many members ...

Out of this World

David Armitage

16 November 1995
by Thomas More, edited by George Logan, Robert M. Adams and Clarence Miller.
Cambridge, 290 pp., £55, February 1995, 0 521 40318 9
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Utopias of the British Enlightenment 
edited by Gregory Claeys.
Cambridge, 305 pp., £35, July 1994, 0 521 43084 4
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... The serious historical appraisal of Utopia begins with the imposing Yale edition of 1965, which presented both Latin and English texts along with magisterial introductions by Edward Surtz and J.H.Hexter. For Surtz (a Jesuit), More was very much Saint Thomas; for Hexter (a Whig), he was more clearly Sir Thomas, and their rival interpretations have challenged future scholars to find the truth behind ...

Elton at seventy

Patrick Collinson

11 June 1992
Return to Essentials: Some Reflections on the Present State of Historical Study 
by G.R. Elton.
Cambridge, 128 pp., £16.95, October 1991, 0 521 41098 3
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... are. Ideology means Marxism (and especially that ‘erring colleague’, Christopher Hill), but Elton reserves some of his ammunition for the alternative, liberal determinists, Arnold Toynbee, Sir John Plumb, J.H.Hexter, while not forgetting that morally admirable but woefully misled and misleading Christian Socialist R.H. Tawney, who was first denounced in Elton’s inaugural of 1968 as ‘a very ...
3 February 1983
The Birth of a Consumer Society: The Commercialisation of 18th-Century England 
by Neil McKendrick, John​ Brewer and J.H.​ Plumb.
Europa, 355 pp., £18.50, July 1982, 0 905118 00 6
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... The American historian J. H. Hexter once complained that the myth of an assertive and ascendant middle class had distorted accounts of almost every century of English history. Yet for the 18th century – a period in which the myth had ...

Floreat Eltona

David Starkey

19 January 1984
Tudor Rule and Revolution: Essays for G.R. Elton from his American Friends 
edited by DeLloyd Guth and John​ McKenna.
Cambridge, 418 pp., £27.50, February 1983, 0 521 24841 8
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Essays on Tudor and Stuart Politics and Government. Vol III: Papers and Reviews 1973-1981 
by G.R. Elton.
Cambridge, 512 pp., £27.50, March 1983, 0 521 24893 0
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Which road to the past? Two Views of History 
by Robert William Fogel and G.R. Elton.
Yale, 136 pp., £9.95, September 1983, 0 300 03011 8
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... meets the Gutenberg Galaxy. Not all the pieces are like this. Some are merely insubstantial. W.T. MacCaffery’s essay on the Elizabethan Parliament is so bland that it defies summary. And J.H.Hexter’s ‘Quoting the Commons, 1604–42’ might well have been subtitled ‘Much Ado about Nothing’ (it spends half a page defining quotation-marks). But at least Hexter chews vigorously on his ...

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