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Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
The Long Recessional

The Long Recessional

The Imperial Life of Rudyard Kipling

David Gilmour

Farrar, Straus and Giroux


A major new biography of Rudyard Kipling

Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) was a unique figure in British history, a great writer as well as an imperial icon whose life trajectory matched that of the British Empire from its zenith to its final decades. Kipling was in his early twenties when his first stories about Anglo-Indian life vaulted him into celebrity. He went on to be awarded the Nobel Prize, and to add more phrases to the language than any man since Shakespeare, but his conservative views and advocacy of imperialism damaged his critical reputation -- while at the same time making him all the more popular with a general readership. By the time he died, the man who incarnated an era for millions was almost forgotten, and new generations must come to terms in their own way with his enduring but mysterious powers.

Previous works on Kipling have focused exclusively on his writing and on his domestic life. Here, the distinguished biographer David Gilmour not only explains how and why Kipling wrote, but also explores the themes of his complicated life, his ideas, his relationships, and his views on the Empire and the future. Gilmour is the first writer to explore Kipling's public role, his influence on the way Britons saw themselves and their Empire. His fascinating new book, based on extensive research (especially in the underexplored archives of the United States), is a groundbreaking study of a great and misunderstood writer.

Praise for The Long Recessional

“In his entertaining and sympathetic biography . . . Gilmour portrays Kipling in all his complexity . . . He quietly dismantles the caricature of Kipling as a two-dimensional Victorian chauvinist.” —Alan Riding, The New York Times

“[Gilmour examines] Kipling's political consciousness . . . more deeply than any writer before him.” —Gregory Feeley, The Philadelphia Inquirer

“[A] formidable study . . . [Gilmour] is superb as a historian and biographer.” —Robert F. Moss, Los Angeles Times Book Review


Reviews from Goodreads

David Gilmour

David Gilmour is the author of several highly acclaimed works of literary and political history, including two prize-winning biographies, Curzon and The Last Leopard: A Life of Giuseppe di Lampedusa. He lives in Edinburgh.

image of David Gilmouro
Copyright Laura Gilmour

David Gilmour

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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