Conservative revolutionary

The lives of Lewis Namier

By David Hayton

Conservative revolutionary


  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-8603-8
  • Pages: 472
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £25.00
  • Published Date: August 2019
  • BIC Category: History, BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Historical, POLITICAL SCIENCE / History & Theory, HISTORY / Europe / Great Britain / 20th Century, HISTORY / Historiography, Humanities / Historiography, Biography & True Stories / Biography: historical, political & military, Humanities / 20th century history: c 1900 to c 2000


Acclaimed after the Second World War as England's greatest historian, Sir Lewis Namier was an eastern European immigrant who came to idealise the English gentleman and enjoyed close friendship with leading figures of his day, including Winston Churchill. Today, Namier is associated with the belief that the thoughts and actions of elites matter most, and with a view of politics in which those who enter public life do so only in pursuit of personal and material advantage. This exaggerated view has made him a hero to social and political conservatives, and a demonic figure to the Left. Preoccupied by nationalism, empire, and human motivation, Namier also remains famous in academic circles for supposedly declaring that any reference to ideas in political discourse was nothing more than 'flapdoodle'. The first biography of Namier in over thirty years, this book is based on a vast range of sources, including rich new archival material.


'Judicious, balanced, thorough . David Hayton's book will be accepted as the definitive biography of a fascinating man.' Adam Sisman, author of A.J.P. Taylor and Hugh Trevor-Roper

'Hayton has left hardly any relevant archive or printed source uncombed . The result is a definitive account of its subject. As histories of historians go, it definitely ranks with Haslam on E. H. Carr, Sisman on Taylor and Trevor-Roper, and Bentley on Butterfield.' Miles Taylor, University of York

'One of the most important books in British historiography for decades. Nobody is better placed than David Hayton to recover Namier's unsurpassed technical mastery of historical problems. But Hayton is equally alert to Namier's chequered life and overpowering personality, while his deft and unobtrusively witty style makes this a pleasure to read. A masterpiece.' Colin Kidd, University of St Andrews

'An important and compelling study. The product of many years of research, this scholarly and well-written biography goes beyond a familiar English environment to expand Namier's significance as a major figure in European and Jewish historiography.' Michael Bentley, University of St Andrews


D. W. Hayton is a Visiting Professor in the School of English and History at Ulster University


Prologue: In search of Namier
1: Avenues of history: the child and the man, 1888-1913
2: Personalities and powers, 1913-1917
3: Facing east, 1917-1920
4: In the margin of history,1920-1928
5: Skyscrapers, 1928-32
6: Europe in decay, 1932-8
7: In the Nazi era, 1938-47
8: Crossroads of power, 1947-56
9: Conflicts, 1956-60
10: Vanished supremacies: Namier in retrospect

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