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Dutton, David 1950–

Dutton, David 1950–

(David John Dutton)

PERSONAL:

Born 1950. Education: Holds a Ph.D.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Liverpool, England.

CAREER:

University of Liverpool, Liverpool, England, department of history, began as lecturer, became senior lecturer, 1974—.

WRITINGS:

Austen Chamberlain, Gentleman in Politics, R. Anderson (Bolton, England), 1985, Transaction Books (New Brunswick, NJ), 1987.

(Editor) Odyssey of an Edwardian Liberal: The Political Diary of Richard Durning Holt, Record Society of Lancashire and Cheshire (Cheshire, England), 1989.

British Politics since 1945: The Rise and Fall of Consensus, B. Blackwell (Cambridge, MA), 1991, 2nd edition published as British Politics since 1945: The Rise, Fall, and Rebirth of Consensus, 1997.

His Majesty's Loyal Opposition: The Unionist Party in Opposition, 1905-1915, Liverpool University Press (Liverpool, England), 1992.

Simon: A Political Biography of Sir John Simon, Aurum Press (London, England), 1992.

(Editor) Statecraft and Diplomacy in the Twentieth Century: Essays Presented to P.M.H. Bell, Liverpool University Press (Liverpool, England), 1995.

Anthony Eden: A Life and Reputation, Arnold (London, England), 1997.

The Politics of Diplomacy: Britain and France in the Balkans in the First World War, I.B. Tauris (New York, NY), 1998.

Neville Chamberlain, Arnold (London, England), 2001.

(Editor) Edward George Villiers Stanley, Earl of Derby, Paris 1918: The War Diary of the British Ambassador, the 17th Earl of Derby, Liverpool University Press (Liverpool, England), 2001.

A History of the Liberal Party in the Twentieth Century, Palgrave Macmillan (New York, NY), 2004.

Contributor to various journals, including Journal of Liberal History, English Historical Review, New Perspective, History Review, and Diplomacy and Statecraft.

SIDELIGHTS:

Born in 1950, writer and educator David Dutton has been a lecturer in history at the University of Liverpool since 1974. Dutton's primary area of research and academic interest is twentieth-century British political history, teaching courses on Britain after 1851, the period leading up to World War Two, and the period since 1940. In addition to his academic course load, Dutton has contributed to a number of periodicals and journals, including the Journal of Liberal History, English Historical Review, New Perspective, History Review, and Diplomacy and Statecraft. He is also the author and/or editor of a range of books on the history and politics of the twentieth century, as well as on the major political players of the time.

Simon: A Political Biography of Sir John Simon is the first full-length volume devoted to chronicling Simon's career. Dutton details Simon's early experiences, including his scholarship to Oxford and the fellowship he ultimately won to All Souls. He goes on to detail Simon's work as an advocate and the success that led to his position in Parliament. Simon resigned his cabinet position due to a disagreement over conscription and the resultant debates, which lowered his political profile considerably. Ultimately, he formed the new Liberal National Party, and took up a new position in government. His liberal leanings slowly shifted, despite his protestation that he was still, indeed, a liberal, and his return to office took place under a far more conservative mantle. He ended up serving as foreign secretary, home secretary, chancellor of the exchequer, and finally lord chancellor. Dutton attempts to not only chronicle Simon's career, but to point out his successes and, in so doing, bolster his somewhat dented reputation. Mariel Grant, in a review for the Canadian Journal of History, remarked that Dutton "provides a sensible, rather Simonesque, treatment of the man and, in so doing, sheds considerable insight into the problems besetting liberals after 1918. Indeed, this is an invaluable source on the post-war disintegration of the Liberal party and its broader implications."

Anthony Eden: A Life and Reputation, which was published in 1997, looks at the career of Anthony Eden, the man who was long considered the ideal successor to Winston Churchill in the Prime Minister's office, and whose successful thirty-year career in British politics came to an ignoble end due to his failures in 1956 regarding the joint attack with France on Egypt and the resulting situation at Suez. Dutton analyzes Eden's life and career, making thoughtful observations and references to what may indeed be considered some of the early seeds in the decline of his position. He discusses Eden's earliest efforts, prior to World War Two, as he began his political service posted to a number of cabinets, followed by a stint working as a foreign secretary. In 1938, fairly early on in his career, Eden resigned his foreign service post as a means of protest against the appeasement policies of the day. Publicly, this was held up as a sign of his steadfast upholding of his values, though Dutton suggests there might have been more to the situation behind the scenes. However, Eden was remembered as being vocal against both Hitler and Mussolini and spoke out against yielding to them at the earliest point during the lead-up to the war. This stance eventually won him back his foreign post in 1940, and led to an upturn in his reputation. Dutton goes on to highlight other strengths in Eden's career, including his ultimate election as Prime Minister. Though the Suez Crisis is given due consideration, Dutton does not consider it worthy of tearing down all of Eden's previous accomplishments. Van Michael Leslie, in a review for the Historian, noted: "Dutton concludes that if Eden had proven successful in the Suez Crisis, both contemporary and future historical judgments of his career might have turned out very differently. The weight of the evidence would appear to support this conclusion." A reviewer for Publishers Weekly commented of the book that, despite Eden's obvious faults, "to Dutton his performance as Churchill's wartime partner is credit enough to lift Eden's faded reputation." Trevor Burridge, in a contribution for History: Review of New Books, wrote that "Dutton brings to his task a sound knowledge of contemporary British history, excellent research skills, and a clear literary style. He has produced an absorbing and judiciously balanced study of interest to the academic and, general reader alike."

Dutton served as editor for Paris 1918: The War Diary of the British Ambassador, the 17th Earl of Derby. The book chronicles the experiences of Edward George Villiers Stanley, the seventeenth Earl of Derby, who became the British Ambassador in Paris in 1918, despite having no previous diplomatic experience, as well as a rather poor command of the French language. The post served more as a way to get Stanley out from under foot, as during the previous year and a half, when he had been the Secretary of State for War, Stanley had routinely sided with the war-mongering generals against Prime Minister David Lloyd George. His new role as British Ambassador was no less important, however, given the wartime situation in Europe, and the ongoing tenuous relations between England and France despite the united front against the Germans. Ultimately, Stanley managed to ingratiate himself with the French, and his tenure in Paris lasted until November, 1920. William Philpott, writing for the English Historical Review, remarked on the in-depth chronicle that "historians of diplomacy, and of the social etiquette of the upper classes, will glean much from this detail, although the historian of high politics will find it difficult to wade through. Fortunately, the index is thorough, and so key affairs of state are easy to follow."

A History of the Liberal Party in the Twentieth Century chronicles the political party's recent history, going into detail regarding leadership, the ups and downs of elections, discussions within the party, maneuvers by party players both within and outside party confines, and an overview of the political system in Great Britain in order to provide readers with a sense of context. The book takes a chronological approach to the party's history over the last century, noting the most influential individuals at each point in time, and focusing on five primary eras, ranging from the Edwardian era all the way up to the Thatcherite era. He discusses the weakness of the party during World War One, and continues on through the major events of the century. Beyond these specifics, Dutton also includes overall themes that seem to have played out consistently over the course of the twentieth century, including an overall unfairness that has been foisted upon the party. This includes a lack of liberal voters, despite an overall liberal spirit across the country, and circumstances that ultimately shortchanged the party of representative seats in the House of Commons. As a result, the current system prevents the Liberals from achieving any sense of political dominance. Dutton goes on to note, however, that the Liberal party remains one of stubborn survivors who continue to struggle on despite constant set backs. Matthew Hendley, in a review for the Canadian Journal of History, remarked that "although the book has many strengths, it fails to engage with the approaches of the new political history and to consider alternatives to a strictly chronological narrative framework." He ultimately concluded, however, that "Dutton's book is a pleasure to read. It serves up a synthesis of traditional political party history in a lively and engaging manner."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Albion, fall, 2003, R.J.Q. Adams, review of Neville Chamberlain, p. 538.

American Historical Review, December, 1999, Jan Karl Tanenbaum, review of The Politics of Diplomacy: Britain and France in the Balkans in the First World War, p. 1741.

Booklist, January 1, 1997, Gilbert Taylor, review of Anthony Eden: A Life and Reputation, p. 812.

Canadian Journal of History, April, 1993, Mariel Grant, review of Simon: A Political Biography of Sir John Simon, p. 109; April, 1999, Keith Neilson, review of The Politics of Diplomacy, p. 116; March 22, 2006, Matthew Hendley, review of A History of the Liberal Party in the Twentieth Century, p. 147.

Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, July 1, 1997, P. Stansky, review of Anthony Eden, p. 1856; December, 1998, review of The Politics of Diplomacy, p. 748; July 1, 2002, "Great Liberal Speeches," p. 1954.

Economist, March 16, 1985, review of Austen Chamberlain, Gentleman in Politics, p. 100.

English Historical Review, June, 1995, Philip Williamson, review of Simon, p. 802; June, 1998, John W. Young, review of Anthony Eden, p. 804; April, 2002, Peter J. Beck, review of Neville Chamberlain, p. 499; June, 2002, William Philpott, review of Paris 1918: The War Diary of the British Ambassador, the 17th Earl of Derby, p. 743; April, 2007, Vernon Bogdanor, review of A History of the Liberal Party in the Twentieth Century, p. 570.

Historian, fall, 1999, Van Michael Leslie, review of Anthony Eden.

History: Review of New Books, fall, 1997, Trevor Burridge, review of Anthony Eden; summer, 2005, David M. Fahey, review of A History of the Liberal Party in the Twentieth Century.

History Today, January, 1994, Richard Cockett, review of Simon, p. 51; July, 1997, Robert Pearce, review of Anthony Eden, p. 61.

International History Review, December, 1999, David Stevenson, review of The Politics of Diplomacy, p. 1054; September, 2002, Alan Sharp, review of Paris 1918, p. 671; September, 2004, David Dutton, "British Strategy and Politics during the Phony War: Before the Balloon Went Up," p. 666.

Journal of British Studies, January, 2006, Tony Little, review of A History of the Liberal Party in the Twentieth Century, p. 219.

Journal of Modern History, December, 1999, John Charmley, review of Anthony Eden, p. 943.

Library Journal, August, 1997, Paul Burnam, review of Anthony Eden, p. 98.

Publishers Weekly, November 18, 1996, review of Anthony Eden, p. 53.

Reference & Research Book News, November, 1998, review of The Politics of Diplomacy, p. 53; May, 2002, review of Paris 1918, p. 25.

Spectator, May 23, 1992, John Grigg, review of Simon, p. 37; December 14, 1996, Alastair Forbes, review of Anthony Eden, p. 71; December 14, 1996, review of Anthony Eden, p. 71.

Times Educational Supplement, August 30, 1991, Gillian Peele, review of British Politics since 1945: The Rise and Fall of Consensus, p. 21.

ONLINE

Oxford University Press Web site,http://www.oup.com/ (April 16, 2008), author profile.

University of Liverpool Web site,http://tulip.liv.ac.uk/ (April 16, 2008), faculty profile.

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