Some biographies approach the character of their subjects stylistically. It applies to this biography of Lewis Namier, a leading British historian of the mid-20th century. David Hayton on Namier is just like Namier and yet ready to run an ethical pen: far-reaching but able to concentrate; fascinating, but also with some longueurs; and consistently reasonable, cautious in its context, and adept in moving into a variety of worlds.
We follow Namier from a comfortable childhood in Austria's Poland, albeit with a problematic father, through training in Switzerland and the London School of Economics to Oxford, where he goes to Balliol and his life with great enthusiasm. As a Jew, however, he was unacceptable to the companions of all souls, although he was clearly bright enough to be excl...
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