Ramsden, John (Andrew) 1947-
RAMSDEN, John (Andrew) 1947-
PERSONAL: Born November 12, 1947, in Sheffield, England; son of Cyril and Mary (Brummitt) Ramsden; married Susan McKay (a lecturer in mathematics), July 19, 1980. Education: Corpus Christi College, Oxford, B.A., 1969; Nuffield College, Oxford, D.Phil., 1974. Religion: Christian.
CAREER: Educator and author. Queen Mary College, University of London, London, England, lecturer, 1972-80, reader in modern history, 1980-96, professor of modern history 1996—; chairman of London East End Constituency Conservative Council, 1978-80, and Wanstead and Woodford Conservative Association, 1980-82; member of council of London Borough of Redbridge, 1982—.
(With Chris Cook) By-Elections in British Politics, St. Martin's Press (London, England), 1973.
(With Chris Cook) Trends in British Politics since 1945, Macmillan (London, England), 1978.
The Age of Balfour and Baldwin, 1902-1940, Longman (London, England), 1978.
The Making of Conservative Party Policy: The Conservative Research Department since 1929, Longman (London, England), 1980.
(Editor and author of introduction) Real Old Tory Politics: The Political Diaries of Sir Robert Sanders, Lord Bayford, 1910-35, Historians' Press (London, England), 1984.
Ruling Britannia: A Political History of Britain 1688-1988, Longman (New York, NY), 1990.
The Age of Churchill and Eden, 1940-57, Longman (New York, NY), 1995.
The Winds of Change: Macmillan to Heath, 1957-75, Longman (New York, NY), 1996.
An Appetite for Power, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1999.
(Editor) The Oxford Companion to Twentieth-Century British Politics, Oxford University Press (Oxford, England), 2002.
The Dam Busters, Palgrove Macmillan (New York, NY), 2003.
SIDELIGHTS: John Ramsden, a professor of modern history at the University of London, is the author of a number of books that focus on the history of modern British politics. Commenting on Ramsden's The Making of Conservative Party Policy: The Conservative Research Department since 1929, a London Times reviewer stated that the author "has now handsomely filled the Conservative gap in a study of the Party's Research Department which will delight its many old boys and friends of every political persuasion. Dr. Ramsden's book contains a wealth of new material drawn from the Old Queen Street files....His study shows convincingly that it would be difficult to write seriously about the Conservative Party, or even about modern British politics, without considering the contribution to both of the Research Department during its fifty years of sometimes eccentric but always influential history."
In The Winds of Change: Macmillan to Heath, 1957-75 Ramsden evaluates the British Conservative Party from Harold Macmillan's rise to the office of prime minister through the election of Margaret Thatcher as party leader in 1975. The book is part of Longman's "History of the Conservative Party" series, which has established itself as the authoritative guide to the organization. A Spectator reviewer noted that The Winds of Change is "beautifully constructed, meticulous in [its] research and in [its] adamant, though courteous, resistance to the received idea.... High among the author's achievements is that he never allows himself to become, in fashionable parlance, judgmental, yet is never bland."
Ramsden delves further into the history of the British Conservative Party in his 1999 work, An Appetite for Power. In addition to covering most of the issues and accomplishments of the party from past to present, he also includes valuable statistical information such as general elections, a list of office holders since 1830, conferences of the National Union, and a glossary listing the party's dominant leaders. Robert S. Redmond maintained in Contemporary Review that An Appetite for Power will make "an excellent vade mecum for any student of politics," while in the Independent, Kenneth Morgan added, "as a calm and informative interpreter of events," Ramsden "is hard to beat."
Ramsden looks back at the influence of one of the most noted political leaders of the twentieth century in Man of the Century: Winston Churchill and His Legend since 1945. Remembered for his resolute leadership of Great Britain during World War II, during which his strongly worded speeches and frequent radio addresses shored up and gave confidence to an embattled nation, Churchill was also a complex person who, following the war, devoted great attention to establishing a worldwide reputation up until the time of his death in 1965. Beginning with Churchill's funeral, the book tracks back through Churchill's career as a cold war-era statesman and orator, as well as noting the positive public relations generated from his six-volume World War II memoirs, which remained "largely unchallenged for twenty years," according to Michael F. Hopkins in Contemporary Review. Reviewing the study for Library Journal, Robert Moore noted that in Man of the Century Ramsden presents readers with "a wry, readable, and comprehensive study of the depth and roots of Churchill's legacy." History Today critic Geoffrey Best, noting in particular Ramsden's revelations concerning those who perpetuated the legend of Churchill as the "saviour" of Britain during the war years, praised the author for his evenhandedness. "Ramsden is a good-tempered truth-seeker, not a malevolent muckraker," noted Best, adding that Churchill as presented in Man of the Century "is certainly no saint but he commands the author's admiration and amazement, plus a good deal of amusement."
The Oxford Companion to Twentieth-Century British Politics, edited by Ramsden in 2002, is a comprehensive reference guide to the politics of the years encompassing the two world wars as well as a host of social, cultural, and political changes. Ramsden marshaled over one hundred contributors to produce more than 3,000 essays which are organized alphabetically and cover a wide range of subjects, from institutions and people to television and other media. Michael Kerrigan wrote in a Scotsman review that "users will find entries here on such obscure historical figures as Brian Mawhinney, on such mythical prodigies as the 'flying picket' and on such arcane institutions as the Milk Marketing Board and Central Statistical Office. For the older and more cynical there is the pleasure of browsing through a book whose contributors, distinguished and authoritative though they are, aren't afraid to be irreverent." A Booklist contributor dubbed the work a "readable source" and praised the volume's contributors as "represent[ing] . . . a broad spectrum of experts including journalists, scholars, and former cabinet secretaries."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, November 1, 2002, review of The Oxford Companion to Twentieth-Century British Politics,p. 541; September 1, 2003, George Cohen, review of Man of the Century: Winston Churchill and His Legend since 1945, p. 51.
Choice, November, 1979; October, 2002, p. 263.
Contemporary Review, September, 1980; May, 1999, review of An Appetite for Power, p. 267; July, 2003, Michael F. Hopkins, review of Man of the Century, p. 47.
Economist (U.K.), January 13, 1979.
English Historical Review, April, 1983, review of The Making of Conservative Policy: The Conservative Research Department since 1929, p. 469; June, 1997, review of The Age of Churchill and Reason, p. 691; April, 1999, review of By-Elections in British Politics, p. 514.
Financial Times, November 21, 1998, review of An Appetite for Power, p. 5.
Foreign Affairs, July, 1999, review of An Appetite for Power, p. 138.
History, February, 1980.
History Today, March, 1999, review of An Appetite for Power, p. 52; May, 2003, Geoffrey Best, review of Man of the Century, p. 87.
Independent, October 10, 1998, review of An Appetite for Power, p. 15.
Library Journal, September 15, 2003, Robert Moore, review of Man of the Century, p. 65.
Observer, January 21, 1979; October 3, 1999, review of An Appetite for Power, p. 16.
Perspective, April, 1981.
Scotsman, January 26, 2002, review of The Oxford Companion to Twentieth-Century British Politics, p. 11.
Spectator, January 13, 1979; April 13, 1996, review of The Winds of Change, p. 36; April 13, 1996, review of The Age of Churchill and Reason, p. 36; October 24, 1998, review of An Appetite for Power, p. 52; Raymond Carr, review of Man of the Century, p. 40.
Sunday Telegraph (London, England), February 3, 2002, review of The Oxford Companion to Twentieth-Century British Politics, p. 15.
Times (London, England), August 6, 1980.
Times Literary Supplement, November 23, 1979; March 15, 1996, review of The Winds of Change, p. 12; March 15, 1996, review of The Age of Churchill and Reason, p. 12; November 20, 1998, review of An Appetite for Power, p. 25; February 15, 2002, review of The Oxford Companion to Twentieth-Century British Politics, p. 7.*