Thomas Babington Macaulay’s History of England was a phenomenal Victorian best-seller defining a nation’s sense of self, its triumphant rise to a powerfully homogenous nation built on a global empire and its claim to be the modern nation, marking the route to civilization for all others. In this book Catherine Hall explores the emotional, intellectual, and political roots of Zachary Macaulay, the leading abolitionist, and his son Thomas’s visions of race, nation, and empire. The contrasting moments of evangelical humanitarianism and liberal imperialism are read through the writings and careers of the two men.
“If Hall’s book inspires some readers to turn back to Macaulay’s essays and History of England, all the better.”—Jacob Heilbrunn, The Daily Beast~Jacob Heilbrunn, The Daily Beast
~David Arthur, Times Literary Supplement
“Catherine Hall’s insightful and compelling dual biography of Thomas Babington Macaulay and his father Zachary. . . is able to make the Macaulays illuminate many different historical themes and purposes. . .She confidently locates father and son within their intellectual and political milieu, emphasizing the importance of the Scottish Enlightenment and the stadial theory of human progress.”—David Arthur, Times Literary Supplement
Catherine Hall has built a reputation as one of the preeminent historians of her generation. . . . [She] now adds to her string of seminal publications with what may well be her most polished and masterful book.”—The Journal of British Studies~The Journal of British Studies
"Catherine Hall tells the story of father and son with consummate skill. Not only is Macaulay and Son important for understanding imperial Britain, it is a beautifully crafted history. Rather than offering a strictly biographical study, Hall draws upon the two men's lives and writings in order to explore key themes.”—James Epestein, Victorian Studies~James Epstein, Victorian Studies