Hugh Brogan, wide-ranging British scholar whose books ranged from Arthur Ransome’s biography to the acclaimed Penguin History of the United States – obituary

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Hugh Brogan, who has died aged 83, was a leading historian of the United States; but his scholarly interests ranged widely and he wrote acclaimed biographies of the children’s writer Arthur Ransome, also editing a collection of his letters, and of the great 19th century political thinker Alexis de Tocqueville.

His best selling 700-page Longman (now Penguin) History of the United States of America was first published in 1985, ran into two editions and is still in print. Distinguished by Brogan’s old-fashioned elegant style and dry wit, it provided a master class in how to write cogent, graceful history and make it accessible to the general reader.

The Penguin edition of Brogan's magisterial history of the United States

The Penguin edition of Brogan’s magisterial history of the United States

Denis Hugh Vercingetorix Brogan was born on March…