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In Churchill's Shadow

Confronting the Past in Modern Britain

David Cannadine

Publication Date - June 2004

ISBN: 9780195171563

400 pages
6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

Retail Price to Students: $35.00

The author of Ornamentalism takes a provocative look at the icons of British identity, from Winston Churchill to James Bond.


With In Churchill's Shadow, David Cannadine offers an intriguing look at ways in which perceptions of a glorious past have continued to haunt the British present, often crushing efforts to shake them off. The book centers on Churchill, a titanic figure whose influence spanned the century. Though he was the savior of modern Britain, Churchill was a creature of the Victorian age. Though he proclaimed he had not become Prime Minister to "preside over the liquidation of the British Empire," in effect he was doomed to do just that. And though he has gone down in history for his defiant orations during the crisis of World War II, Cannadine shows that for most of his career Churchill's love of rhetoric was his own worst enemy.
Cannadine turns an equally insightful gaze on the institutions and individuals that embodied the image of Britain in this period: Gilbert & Sullivan, Ian Fleming, Noel Coward, the National Trust, and the Palace of Westminster itself, the home and symbol of Britain's parliamentary government. This superb volume offers a wry, sympathetic, yet penetrating look at how national identity evolved in the era of the waning of an empire.

About the Author(s)

David Cannadine is Professor of History and Director of the Institute of Historical Research at the University of London. He is the author of many acclaimed books, including The Decline and Fall of the British Aristocracy, Class in Britain, and Ornamentalism. He lives in London.


"A shrewd choice of subjects that do, indeed, mark the passing of the Churchillian epoch."--The Washington Post Book World

"Cannadine makes a number of worthwhile forays, and his best chapters display his well-earned reputation for lively writing and provocative thinking."--Boston Globe

"Zestfully and gracefully written, compulsively readable, and full of sagacious insights about big questions."--Fred Leventhal

"A group of sometimes provocative, always accessible and thoroughly researched essays that are sure to enlighten those devoted to British history."--Publishers Weekly

"Apart from the solid good judgment, the expert marshalling of resources, the sheer professionalism, there is something special that does distinguish all of Cannadine's work and it's on magnificent display here."--Financial Times

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