Foreword by Paul Bew
At the beginning of the twentieth century Britain's empire spanned the globe, her economy was strong and the political system seemed to be immune from the ills that afflicted so many other countries. After a resounding electoral triumph in 1906 the Liberals again formed the government of the most powerful nation on earth, yet within a few years the army had mutinied, industrial unrest was rife and civil war loomed in Ireland.
The Strange Death of Liberal England is the classic study of this rapid collapse of a self-confident body politic. Three factors combined to bring Liberal England to its knees: the Home Rule crisis brought Ireland to the brink of civil war, while the campaign for women's suffrage created widespread civil disorder, and an unprecedented strike wave swept the land.
The years before the First World War are often presented as a golden age, but this stylish and witty history shows the turbulence of an alleged belle époque to have been the writing on the wall for a nation that had for too long thought of itself as all-powerful.
'The most exciting way to start looking at the nation's history during this period.'
'A wonderful book ... Anyone who hasn't read Dangerfield yet should waste no time in getting a copy.'
'A classic both of popular history, in the best sense of that phrase, and of good and interesting writing.'
The Irish Times
'As bracing an antidote to the banality of Downton Abbey as you could hope to find ... one of those rare histories that survive long after the author's death.'
Nick Cohen, The Spectator
> A Good Read, BBC Radio 4
> 1913: The Year Before, BBC Radio 4
> Free Thinking, Landmark: George Dangerfield's The Strange Death of Liberal England, Philip Dodd talks to Shirley Williams, Roy Foster, Nick Cohen, Duncan Brack and Bea Campbell, BBC Radio 3
> Download podcast of Free Thinking, BBC Radio 3 (right click & select 'save file/link as')
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'It is a rare pleasure not just to recommend a book but to insist with all possible powers of persuasion that anyone lucky enough not to have read it should instantly treat themselves ... George Dangerfield's book is supreme. Every page, indeed every sentence, is lifted above the average by his irresistible writing style.'
Paul Foot, Socialist Review
'A rare example of a book which has become canonical, or at least the focus of all subsequent academic argument, without even having received the tribute of a review in a scholarly journal when it first appeared in 1935.'
John Vincent, The Spectator
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