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The Mid-Victorian Generation 1846-1886 (New Oxford History of England)

3.6 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0198731993
ISBN-10: 019873199X
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Editorial Reviews

Review


"...[a] splendid volume....Theodore Hoppen's book will define our views of mid-Victorian society for the next two or three generations, and well it should. It is a book written from deep knowledge, wide reading, and sparkling historical vision; students and scholars will gain much from reading it."--Albion


"...[a] rich and nuanced picture of Britain between 1846 and 1886...Hoppen writes with uncommon fluency, grace and wit."--David Cannadine, Columbia University


"...a critical review of recent conclusions among social and economic historians..."Times Literary Supplement


"...a qualified triumph...episodes of brilliant exposition and historical insight."--Historical Journal


"Hoppen has succeeded in providing a solid, valuable reference that will serve...as an essential source on the mid-Victorian age."--History


About the Author


Theodore K. Hoppen is Professor in History at the University of Hull.
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Product Details

  • Series: New Oxford History of England
  • Paperback: 824 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (August 10, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 019873199X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0198731993
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 2.1 x 5.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #746,813 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
K. Theodore Hoppen's book is an invaluable resource for students and scholars of the Victorian Generation. The breadth of its scholarship is extraordinary. It is teeming with important information and provides references for further reading. The book significantly adds to the scholarship of Asa Brigg's The Age of Improvement since it considers the era after the Second reform Bill of 1867 which is crucial to understanding the direction of English history.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"The Mid-Victorian Generation" is the next step in my higgledy-piggledy walk through the Oxford English History series. All of the volumes share some basic similarities (such as causing the shelves of my bookcase to bow disturbingly ha ha), but Theodore Hoppen's interpretation of the mid-19th century is more interesting than most.

He writes about an unusually chaotic period in English politics, beginning with the repeal of the Corn Laws that tore the Conservative party in half. What followed was a whirl of minor parties and factions -- old Whigs, Ultras, Peelites, and Radicals -- and just as things seemed to be settling out (Hoppen describes the rise of formal party organizations to channel political impulses and the money behind them), the Irish question upended everything once again. In this way it is also a story of William Gladstone, who served in nearly every Liberal cabinet during the period, and had a hand in most of the major bills, until his humiliating failure in 1886. We like histories that also have some narrative to them, right?

Even so, political history gets a little dizzying. The most appealing part of the book is the obligatory chapter on the literature and art of the period. In the introduction, Hoppen says that such chapters usually turn into "breathless lists of the good and the great," which is all too true. Instead, (appropriately for a book on Victorianism) he writes about the fine arts from an economic perspective. There are some fascinating insights (why, for example, Victorian novels are all so long, and how that seemingly creative choice was actually dictated by the publishing industry) although others, like his attempt to explain the lack of decent English composers in business terms, seem a little more strained.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a remarkable book, and really does consider the perceptions of those people born into or coming of age in the middle of the Victorian era, which is a fascinating topic. It really does try to consider a wide range of topics, from the role of Empire to the Irish question to issues at home, and this can be both a strength and a detriment for the book, depending on whether a reader wants specific information or an attempt to synthesise a broad overall perspective. There is a bit more political history than I personally care for, but that is honestly a matter of preference and no flaw to the book. I would finally note that while I am used to academic texts as a college professor, at times this one was a bit dry, although again that is hardly unique to this text and current historical writing.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is more of a textbook than a popular history, which is neither good nor bad in and of itself. It's all a matter of what you are looking for. For those who are looking for a political narrative, this book may frustrate them. For those just as interested in societal and economic development, this book is a gold mine of information. Very well written.

Three stars, mostly because I'm a tough grader. Two and a half stars would be average, and this is slightly above average.
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It's hard to figure out who the book is for. It's a very broad overview, so, for someone who doesn't know the period. But it's written in a way that presupposes quite extensive knowledge of the people and events.
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The Mid-Victorian Generation 1846-1886 (New Oxford History of England)
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