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A Soaring Eagle
Alfred Marshall, 1842-1924
Theorist, practitioner, educator and arguably the father of professional economics, Alfred Marshall's life and career have long required a full scale biography to put his work into context and reveal the extent of his influence. Peter Groenewegen's outstanding new book places the major features of Marshall's life and work within the rich institutional setting of late nineteenth and early twentieth century Britain. This biography sheds new light on Marshall's decision to study economics - after dropping mathematics, philosophy and psychology in turn - and the background to his important books, including the Principles of Economics, as well as his government advice over three decades. More than just the life of a major economist, it also deals with economics and mathematics education at Cambridge, contemporary controversies over socialism, imperialism, free trade, eugenics, religious belief, social welfare and the women's movement. As the first biography of Alfred Marshall, A Soaring Eagle contributes to the history of economics, the social sciences and education while also offering a series of insights into Victorian and Edwardian society.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
'Groenewegen's magnificent biography of Alfred Marshall provides a veritable mountain of detailed evidence on the development and contributions of a remarkable and complex human being during his long life. Groenewegen has left no stone unturned that might conceal the remotest detail of Marshall's background and like. The book will unquestionably be the standard source for any future scholars of the economist whose Principles of Economics dominated the teaching of pricer theory from its first publication in 1890 until well into the 19th century.' -- Bolletino del CIRT 'Groenewegen's exhaustive, judicious and scholarly account of Marshall's life and times has been worth the wait. Groenewegen has produced a biography which demonstrates deep learning perceptiveness of interpretation and scrupulous bibliographical accuracy. He has presented a rounded and sensitive picture of the complex amalgam of traits and behaviours that characterised Marshall.' -- Mark Donoghue, Review of Political Economy '... The scale and scope of his research into all aspects of Marshall's life are truly impressive, and as such his work constitutes an invaluable contribution to the history of economic thought and of the development of economics as an academic discipline... an indispensable mine of information on Marshall's life, career and intellectual and institutional environment.' -- Alon Kadish, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel '... Groenewegen's prose is gripping yet lucid and analytical. Without exaggeration it can be stated that any future work on Marshall has to start from this book.' -- C.J. Talele, Choice Outstanding Academic Book of the Year 1995 'Scholars will find themselves well rewarded for their time reading Peter Groenewegen's substantial contribution to scholarship. No good library can afford to be without this book. It is a wonderful achievement that has been long awaited.' -- Robert W. Butler, The Historian 'A scholarly and comprehensive study of Marshall's life and work, particularly interesting on his early background.' -- John K. Whitaker, University of Virginia, US 'Given his worldwide reputation and immense influence on 20th century economics, the absence of a scholarly biography of Alfred Marshall is shocking. Now, at last, Peter Groenewegen has filled this yawning gap, and his book is a major event for economists, intellectual historians and students of the social sciences. Groenewegen's research, extending over many years, has been exhaustive; his contribution to our knowledge of the man and his works is immense; his analysis of Marshall's writings is comprehensive; and throughout his judgement is balanced and insightful. This is truly a landmark achievement.' -- A.W. Coats, Duke University, North Carolina, US and University of Nottingham, UK 'Many have thought that Keynes's Memoir made unnecessary the writing of a biography of Alfred Marshall. How wrong they were. Professor Groenewegen's meticulous research has given us a very different (and more accurate) picture of Alfred Marshall's life. Everyone interested in the development of modern economics will gain immensely from reading this biography.' -- Ronald Coase, Nobel Laureate in Economics 1991 '... this is no dry-as-dust book for the serious academic alone, for it provides also a fascinating insight into Alfred Marshall the man and his personal life.' -- Cambridge Weekly News '... Professor Peter Groenewegen's A Soaring Eagle: Alfred Marshall, 1842-1924 is not just a masterpiece of the history of economic thought, but probably the only book by an Australian economist which will still be consulted in a century's time.' -- David Clark, Australian Financial Review '... it is most welcome for a host of reasons; foremost it is a fascinating and absorbing read... It will be a work of great usefulness to those researching and teaching in the history of economic ideas but also, I would surmise, for social historians of the Victorian and Edwardian eras.' -- -Bernard Corry, History of Economic Thought '... a major scholarly achievement ... this first book-length life will be essential reading for all those interested in the development of economics as an academic discipline.' -- John Smithin, Eastern Economic Journal 'The task that Professor Groenewegen undertook was enormous. The magnitude of that task is reflected in the fact that, although Marshall's importance has been acknowledged by all economists, and that he died over 70 years ago, this is the first biography. The size of the job has been immense, in no small part, due to Marshall himself covering many of the tracks, by giving deliberately false leads. That this monumental endeavour has been achieved in such a palatable manner is a credit to Peter. His painstaking labours in pursuing archives, interviewing people, tracing down clues and then putting it all together is rewarded by the manuscript which will stand the test of time. It is a work chiselled in stone, which will throw light for a long time to come.' -- Peter Kriesler, History of Economics Review 'Groenewegen is one of the few people in our universities who has sufficient breadth of knowledge and depth of training to have undertaken such a work, and he has produced a volume which not only tells us everything that can reasonably be known about Marshall's personal and professional life, but he has set it in a context of understanding of Marshall's intellectual concerns which few could match anywhere.' -- Padraic McGuiness, History of Economics Review 'It is a book that is rich in understanding the man as well as illuminating what he wrote and as a psychologist I can safely give testimony to the fact that the book gives a thoroughly idiosyncratic view of Marshall's living (not just life) and his work.' -- Peter Sheehan, History of Economics Review '... Marshall remains a great sage and economist. Groenewegen enables us to catch glimpses of this greatness through an often impenetrable thicket.' -- Lord Robert Skidelsky, The Times Literary Supplement 'It is not only a much needed work but one of impressive scholarship and good judgment. If there ever was an eminent Victorian, Marshall was representative of its ideal type. Groenewegen explains all this, and much more, in great detail and I enjoyed every page of this impressive book. Scholars will find this study of Marshall authoritative, thorough, original, fascinating, and the standard work on Marshall.' -- Gerard M. Koot, Albion 'Peter Groenewegen's magnificent biography of Alfred Marshall provides a veritable mountain of detailed evidence on the development and contributions of a remarkable and complex human being during his long life. Groenewegen has left no stone unturned that might conceal the remotest detail of Marshall's background and life. Truly a labor of love, no effort has been spared to assure that it is complete and balanced. The book will unquestionably be the standard source for any future scholars of the economist whose Principles of Economics dominated the teaching of price theory from its first publication in 1890 until well into the twentieth century.' -- M. Friedman, Journal of Economic Literature