A History of the English People in the Nineteenth Century - Vol. 1

A History of the English People in the Nineteenth Century - Vol. 1

A History of the English People in the Nineteenth Century - Vol. 1

A History of the English People in the Nineteenth Century - Vol. 1

Excerpt

All students of English history, and all who desire to read it for mingled pleasure and profit in their leisure hours, will welcome a complete and revised edition of the late M. Halévy A History of the English People in the Nineteenth Century, in which the posthumous volume, on the period of Peel and Cobden, is brought into its place in the full series. The earlier volumes have for long been the most complete and philosophic account of the period from 1815 to 1840, and the present volume, which is purely an analysis of the nature of British politics, life, and society at the time of Waterloo, is a window into the mind and state of this country unrivalled for width and the clarity of its exposition. Having thus introduced his subject, Halévy--as if to complete the framework at the outset of his task--then turned to the end of his period and published his Epilogue in two volumes, dealing with the period 1895 to 1914.

Those who were teaching the period at the time will never forget the effect of this first full and impartial presentation of English politics in these nineteen years. Previously the period had lain in that dangerous twilight which always rests upon the years immediately antecedent to the present day, when the only guides are some biographies of statesmen, some hasty and often partial contemporary histories, and the recollection, always biased and sometimes curiously inaccurate, of those who have themselves lived through the events of which they speak. The appearance of Halévy's Epilogue (Volumes V and VI in this edition) was more than a searchlight; it was a dawn. His quiet and thoughtful analysis, his careful presentation of complicated facts and contrasting opinions, gave us firm ground to stand upon. And in his full and varied references to authorities and sources there was an invitation to the student to delve further, to confirm and perhaps to correct the author's conclusions. University faculties could then 'prescribe' the period with confidence for academic study, general readers could approach it with an assurance that they were guided by no mere partisan.

In many respects a foreign historian has some advantages over a native as an historian of a country. Passions, prejudices, and . . .

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