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Gordon Pentland

Gordon Pentland

Gordon Pentland is Professor of History at Monash University. He has published widely on the political history of Britain since the late eighteenth century. He co-edited The Oxford Handbook of Modern British Political History (2018).

Gordon Pentland reviews 'The Abuse of Power: Confronting injustice in public life' by Theresa May

January-February 2024, no. 461 26 November 2023
It takes some considerable effort to remember Theresa May’s time as prime minister. Her two governments ran from the resignation of David Cameron immediately after the political earthquake of the Brexit referendum in 2016, to May’s own tearful resignation in the summer of 2019 as the aftershocks swallowed her minority government. The distending effects of the past three years of UK (and world) ... (read more)

Gordon Pentland reviews 'Untied Kingdom: A global history of the end of Britain' by Stuart Ward

August 2023, no. 456 24 July 2023
Two of my favourite images in Stuart Ward’s important new book reproduce black-and-white photographs. One captures the life-sized butter sculpture of the prince of Wales and his favourite Canadian horse, the star exhibit of the 1924 Empire Exhibition at Wembley. The other shows a group of protesters in London in 1973 contesting European Economic Community restrictions on imports of Commonwealth ... (read more)

Gordon Pentland on Britain and the anaesthesia of nostalgia

May 2023, no. 453 24 April 2023
It is a truism that all politics is performance. Successful leaders are frequently adept in the manipulation and deployment of scripts, props, stages, and costumes. To their credit, British politicians have worked exceedingly hard over the past year and more to explore the full range of theatrical genres. The vaudevillian moral vacuum of Boris Johnson’s government was reprised in recent weeks ... (read more)

Gordon Pentland reviews 'Scotland: The global history – 1603 to the present' by Murray Pittock

January-February 2023, no. 450 28 December 2022
I was sorely tempted to judge this book by its cover. The ‘Scotland’ of the title is large, bold, and confident. The subtitle ‘The Global History 1603 to the Present’ is there in diminuendo, unassuming and easy to miss. This encapsulates the volume’s central tension: how is it possible to write the global history of a single nation? How can the emphasis of the first project on boundaryle ... (read more)

Gordon Pentland reviews 'Jeremy Bentham and Australia', edited by Tim Causer, Margot Finn, and Philip Schofield, and 'Panopticon versus New South Wales and Other Writings on Australia', edited by Tim Causer and Philip Schofield

December 2022, no. 449 25 November 2022
On the centenary of Jeremy Bentham’s death in 1932, there was widespread and somewhat macabre interest in the Australian press in the commemorative dinner at University College London, at which Bentham’s famous auto-icon made an appearance as the guest of honour. Some of the more serious commentary sought to educate readers about this ‘human bridge between the thought of the eighteenth and n ... (read more)