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About the Author

David Cannadine is Professor of History and Director of the Institute of Historical Research at London University.
Image credit: Kristofer Dan Bergman

Works by David Cannadine

Mellon: An American Life (2006) 327 copies
Class in Britain (1998) 160 copies
What Is History Now? (2002) — Editor — 103 copies
The Pleasures of the Past (1989) 97 copies
History in Our Time (1998) 69 copies
History and the Media (2004) 9 copies

Associated Works

The Invention of Tradition (1983) — Contributor — 906 copies
Blood, Toil, Tears and Sweat: The Great Speeches (1989) — Editor — 200 copies
The Modern Historiography Reader: Western Sources (2008) — Contributor — 36 copies


Common Knowledge



Historiography in History: On learning from and writing history (May 2015)


Political history of Great Britain during its long 19th century, starting with the disruptions arising from the increased surplus rural population (both cause and consequence of the shift to industrial manufacturing instead of agriculture) and continuing through the shambolic acquisition of an Empire, often against the wishes of politicians in London. Although it’s quite long, it also assumes a fair amount of knowledge about British society, such as how and why one would become a peer.
rivkat | 2 other reviews | Apr 15, 2024 |
While the topic and the author's points are interesting and well-researched, the book was mostly a pain to read. Never-ending listings, brackets and subclauses, where the point could be made with many words less. I did not find the writing very accessible.
sunforsiberia | 2 other reviews | Dec 28, 2023 |
Really liked. From a historical perspective Cannadine criticizes a common tendency to view the story of humanity as a clash between opposing sides, whether those are religious, national, class, gender, race, or "civilization vs barbarism." In all cases he shows that these divisions are not nearly as clear as some propose.

From the conclusion:

Whether envisaged individually or collectively, the reality of the human past has always been informed by dialogue, interaction, connection, borrowing, blending, and assimilation, at least as much as it has been by disagreement, hostility, belligerence, conflict, separation, or unlikeness.… (more)
steve02476 | 1 other review | Jan 3, 2023 |
This short biography is actually the entry for Thatcher in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. According to the introduction, it's one of the longest entries in the ODNB, and Oxford therefore decided to republish the entry as a stand-alone book. It definitely reads like a solid encyclopedia entry, but as a book I found it was balanced almost to a fault: Cannadine argues that Thatcher was neither as terrible has her detractors would claim, not as great as her admirers believe. My impression, after reading this book, is that she was unpleasant, dishonest, and rather foolish. In Cannadine's conclusion he argues that her significance was negligible, due more to her personality and historical accident than to any real achievements or failures of her own making. All of which begs the question, for me at least, why her entry needed to be so lengthy. If you're looking for a fair biography, then I recommend this one, but it must be said that it lacks the verve you would probably find in more polemical treatments.… (more)
gtross | Nov 24, 2021 |



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