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The History of a History Man


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In 1988 Patrick Collinson was appointed Regius Professor of Modern History in the University of Cambridge; on his retirement in 1996, he was widely regarded as the most distinguished religious historian of his generation. An expert on the Reformation and post-Reformation period in England, he is probably best known for his work on the history of Puritanism.
The History of a History Man has much to tell about the development of the historical profession and the evolution of the universities in Britain in the second half of the twentieth century. Elegantly written and with an irreverent humour, it tells the story of a childhood in pre-War Britain dominated by an ardent evangelical religion, of evacuation during the Blitz, of national service during the Cold War, of undergraduate life at Cambridge in the 1950s, of teaching and travelling in the Sudan and Ethiopia while the British empire collapsed, and of expatriate life in Australia during the 1970s, before returning to Britain in time for the first great funding crisis of post-war higher education.
The book not only demands the attention of those interested in the writing of history and the story of the universities, but also, in its evocation of a world that is now rapidly disappearing, it has much to offer anyone who wants to learn more about Britain in the twentieth century.

PATRICK COLLINSON was Regius Professor of Modern History in the University of Cambridge from 1988 to 1996, and he is a Fellow of Trinity College. He is the author of many studies of the Reformation and of post-Reformation religion, politics and society. Patrick Collinson was the founding President of the Church of England Record Society.


[A] humane and wonderfully written autobiography. JOURNAL OF HISTORICAL BIOGRAPHY

A humane and wonderfully written autobiography. JOURNAL OF HISTORICAL BIOGRAPHY

A revealing read, almost too revealing of a humble and very human scholar. CONGREGATIONAL HISTORY SOCIETY MAGAZINE

This memoir, covering the whole arc of a life, makes fascinating reading [and] leaves an abiding impression of a remarkably kind and generous man. TLS Books of the Year 2011

Informative, engaging and highly recommended reading. MIDWEST BOOK REVIEW


First Published: 17 Mar 2011
13 Digit ISBN: 9781843836278
Pages: 244
Size: 23.4 x 15.6
Binding: Hardback
Imprint: Boydell Press

Details updated on 30 Mar 2016


  • 1  Why?
  • 2  My Mother
  • 3  My Father
  • 4  A Strange Little Boy
  • 5  King's School Ely
  • 6  History
  • 7  My Part in The Cold War
  • 8  Pembroke
  • 9  Puritanism
  • 10  First Taste of the Waters of the Nile
  • 11  The Sudan Years and Ethiopia
  • 12  The Most Beautiful Place on Earth
  • 13  It was all down to the Khartoum Caledonian Society
  • 14  The Sudan: Looking Back in Anger and Regret
  • 15  King's College London and Honor Oak, 1961-1969
  • 16  Sydney
  • 17  Canterbury and Sheffield
  • 18  Trinity
  • 19  The Glacis of Retirement