Manning, Brian 1927–2004

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Manning, Brian 1927–2004

PERSONAL: Born May 21, 1927, in Sussex, England; died April 24, 2004, in Italy; son of Lionel Manning (a sports reporter); married (marriage dissolved); children: one son. Education: Attended Balliol College, Oxford, and King's College, Cambridge. Politics: Socialist.

CAREER: Historian. Manchester University, Manchester, England, faculty member, 1959–80; New University of Ulster, faculty member, dean of School of Humanities, 1980–92, professor emeritus, 1992–2004.

MEMBER: London Socialists Historian Group.

WRITINGS:

(Editor) Politics, Religion, and the English Civil War, Edward Arnold (London, England), 1973, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1974.

The English People and the English Revolution, 1640–1649, Heinemann (London, England), 1976, published as The English People and the English Revolution, Bookmarks (London, England), 1991.

1649: The Crisis of the English Revolution, Bookmarks (Chicago, IL), 1992.

Aristocrats, Plebeians, and Revolution in England, 1640–1660, Pluto Press (East Haven, CT), 1996.

The Far Left in the English Revolution 1640–1660, Bookmarks (London, England), 1999.

Revolution and Counter-Revolution in England, Ireland, and Scotland, 1640–1660, Bookmarks (London, England), 2003.

Contributor to journals, including International Socialism Journal. Assistant editor, Past and Present, 1954–63.

SIDELIGHTS: Known as one of the preeminent experts on one of England's defining events, historian Brian Manning was the author of The English People and the English Revolution, 1640–1649. The work was described as, "above all, a critique of that history which portrayed the revolution of the 1640s as a fluke, an ill-consequence of courtly intrigue," by David Renton and Keith Flett in a Manchester Guardian obituary for Manning. Manning's next book, 1649: The Crisis of the English Revolution, focuses on the apex of the revolution, that resulted in the execution of Charles I and the defeat of the Leveller mutinies. Writing in New Statesman & Society, Diarmaid MacCulloch commented that the history "has a traditional, albeit nuanced, Marxist line" on its subject. Manning went on to explore the intellectual origins of the revolution in his next three books: Aristocrats, Plebeians, and Revolution in England, 1640–1660, The Far Left in the English Revolution, 1640–1660, and Revolution and Counter-Revolution in England, Ireland, and Scotland, 1640–1660.

Renton praised Manning's efforts to illuminate a pivotal period in English history. "To his study of the English revolution, Manning brought patient scholarship," REnton explained. "His sources were drawn from the record of printed papers, petitions, pamphlets and newspapers. He let those sources speak to him with the optimism of their times." Calling Manning "an outstanding historian of England's 17th-century revolution," a London Times contributor asserted: "The great strength of Manning's own writing was that it combined Marxist analysis of 17th-century English society with a palpable enthusiasm for the men and women whose stories appear in contemporary sources only in tantalizing glimpses."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

History Today, March, 1994, Ann Hughes, review of 1649: The Crisis of the English Revolution, p. 57.

New Statesman & Society, December 11, 1992, Diarmaid MacCulloch, review of 1649, p. 38.

OBITUARIES:

PERIODICALS

Guardian (Manchester, England), June 26, 2004, David Renton and Keith Flett, "Brian Manning: Radical Historian of the English Revolution," p. 25.

Times (London, England), June 9, 2004, p. 32.

ONLINE

London Socialist Historians Web site, http://www.londonsocialisthistorians.org/ (February 16, 2005).