Heroic Failure and the British, Hardback Book


From the Charge of the Light Brigade to Scott of the Antarctic and beyond, it seems as if glorious disaster and valiant defeat have been essential aspects of the British national character for the past two centuries.

In this fascinating book, historian Stephanie Barczewski argues that Britain's embrace of heroic failure initially helped to gloss over the moral ambiguities of imperial expansion.

Later, it became a strategy for coming to terms with diminishment and loss.

Filled with compelling, moving, and often humorous stories from history, Barczewski's survey offers a fresh way of thinking about the continuing legacy of empire in British culture today.


  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 280 pages, 54 b-w illus.
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: British & Irish history
  • ISBN: 9780300180060

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