A not so rave review

Steve Tomkins’ review of my book in the Church Times is behind a paywall. He is himself an historian of the Clapham Sect and clearly thinks I’ve written the wrong type of history. ‘These personal stories’, he writes, ‘are not hugely eventful. The births, romances, marriages, illnesses, and deaths of which they consist are not terribly interesting on their own compared with the drama of the heroic fight against slavery and the calamitous affair of Sierra Leone.’ That has to come down to a difference of opinion!  I am struck with his observation that ‘those who are generally interested in the private lives of the wealthy 18th-century English middle classes also sound like a restricted readership.’ Where has he been these past twenty years? Having written this, I will now maintain a dignified silence!