Profile Books 2002. Small hardback with unclipped dust jacket in as new condition.
Once again everyone is talking about history and its practitioners. Why do people care about history? It is still casually assumed that the 'point' of history is to tell us 'who we are'. History and National Life, by a historian whose last book The Fall and Rise of the Stately Home (in effect a history of much of the 'heritage' idea) was hailed both by historians and general reviewers as 'superb', 'wonderful', splendid', 'fascinating' and 'enthralling', argues that history is less directly 'useful', but also richer than that. Here, Peter Mandler, writing largely in a British context, examines how successive generations use central historical totems (e.g. Henry VIII, Starkey's Elizabeth, the Walter Raleigh of the cover, the Civil War, World War One) for their own purposes - educational, moral, cultural or political. He concludes with a look at the debate about national English/British identity.