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7 April 1994
After the Victorians: Private Conscience and Public Duty in Modern Britain 
edited by Susan Pedersen and Peter Mandler.
Routledge, 265 pp., £40, February 1994, 0 415 07056 2
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... authority. The fact that we may now be able to get some kind of historical perspective on this development suggests that this extended historical episode is essentially over. As Susan Pedersen and PeterMandler emphasise in the introductory essay of After the Victorians, the volume is intended to challenge the once conventional assumption that the early decades of the 20th century saw a decisive ...

Gold out of Straw

Peter Mandler: Samuel Smiles

19 February 2004
Self-Help: With Illustrations of Character, Conduct and Perseverance 
by Samuel Smiles, edited by Peter​ Sinnema.
Oxford, 387 pp., £7.99, October 2002, 0 19 280176 7
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... hail principally from the ‘great families’ who owned and ruled Victorian Britain. As the stories of Böttgher and Palissy make clear, Smiles’s heroes are not all Englishmen (though they are, as Peter Sinnema says, almost all male and European). Napoleon I does not always come out poorly from the frequent comparisons with the Duke of Wellington, and Smiles pointedly praises la carrière ouverte ...

The Swaddling Thesis

Thomas Meaney: Margaret Mead

6 March 2014
Return from the Natives: How Margaret Mead Won the Second World War and Lost the Cold War 
by Peter Mandler.
Yale, 366 pp., £30, March 2013, 978 0 300 18785 4
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... Social Science Research Center and the US Army’s Human Terrain System, which put their ‘local knowledge’ to work for counter-insurgency operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere. PeterMandler wants to rescue Mead. His book portrays her as one of the more sympathetic US internationalists. First, she got Americans interested in the far corners of the globe in the early 1940s when, in ...
13 November 1997
The Fall and Rise of the Stately Home 
by Peter Mandler.
Yale, 523 pp., £19.95, April 1997, 0 300 06703 8
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Ancient as the Hills 
by James Lees-Milne.
Murray, 228 pp., £20, July 1997, 0 7195 5596 5
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The Fate of the English Country House 
by David Littlejohn.
Oxford, 344 pp., £20, May 1997, 9780195088762
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... and tastes on the population at large. It is yet another instance of Martin Wiener’s well-known thesis that rural nostalgia has been the fuel of British economic decline. One of the many merits of PeterMandler’s superb study is that it utterly demolishes these assumptions. He shows that, by Continental standards, Britain has been exceptionally slow to protect its country houses. Political ...


Susan Pedersen

6 October 2011
Structures and Transformations in Modern British History 
edited by David Feldman and Jon Lawrence.
Cambridge, 331 pp., £50, January 2011, 978 0 521 51882 6
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The Peculiarities of Liberal Modernity in Imperial Britain 
edited by Simon Gunn and James Vernon.
California, 271 pp., £20.95, May 2011, 978 0 9845909 5 7
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Classes, Cultures and Politics: Essays on British History for Ross McKibbin 
edited by Clare Griffiths, John Nott and William Whyte.
Oxford, 320 pp., £65, April 2011, 978 0 19 957988 4
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... all the hallmarks of the genre: an affectionate and not unrevealing pen-portrait (by Boyd Hilton), a sympathetic but intellectually astute account of the work that any academic would kill for (by Peter Ghosh), a full bibliography of the works, a brief but mordantly funny sketch of McKibbin’s unrelieved gloom as a writer of political journalism. One might think that such fidelity to the genre ...

Bowling along

Kitty Hauser: The motorist who first saw England

17 March 2005
In Search of H.V. Morton 
by Michael Bartholomew.
Methuen, 248 pp., £18.99, April 2004, 0 413 77138 5
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... fecundity of the countryside he visits is a coded racial resilience, at risk from the enervating effects of urbanisation. On the whole, though, Morton’s politics are sufficiently well-hidden for PeterMandler, in The Fall and Rise of the Stately Home (1997), to call him ‘no reactionary’ (on the grounds of his move, in 1931, to the Daily Herald), and his England a ‘relatively liberated and ...

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