By Andrew Marr

ISBN-10: 0330511475

ISBN-13: 9780330511476

This attractive quantity tells the tale of the way the good political visions and idealisms of Victorian Britain got here to be defeated by means of a tradition of consumerism, megastar, and self-gratification. It explains how in each one decade, political leaders came upon themselves confounded by means of the British humans, who continuously grew to become out to be tougher to herd than anticipated. traditionally Britain has been a rustic at the edge—first of invasion, then of financial disaster, then at the susceptible entrance line of the chilly conflict, and later within the leading edge of the good establishing up of capital and migration. This background follows all of the political and monetary tales of the fashionable period in addition to with such social developments as comedy, autos, the battle opposed to homosexuals, oil-men and punks, Margaret Thatcher’s terrific reliable success, political lies, and the genuine heroes of British theater.

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The end of the British Empire, once the world’s greatest, and the rise of the United States as ruler of the free world occurred for complicated reasons. But they can be plausibly traced back to what Winston, Clem and Arthur agreed was the right thing to do on that difficult day in May. That decision made contemporary Britain, with her weaknesses and strengths, which are the subject of this book. Many unexpected and surprising things followed. Neither Churchill nor Attlee got the Britain they wanted.

But Barnett is also right: we could have had a better country, had we had clearer-minded leaders who did not shrink from telling hard truths, or from treating the voters like adults. So, Labour did not build a New Jerusalem. So, the Tory cabinets of the fifties and early sixties failed to create the restored great power, the New Elizabethan Age they dreamed of. The Wilson and Heath years were supposed to be a time of modernization, a refitted, retooled Britain. They ended with trade unions rampant and the lights flickering out.

The opening up of the great prairies of North America, the easier transportation of grain and meat with steamships, refrigeration and railways, and even the use of barbed wire to extend the farms of Canada and New Zealand, all badly hurt home producers. From the middle years of Queen Victoria to the beginning of Hitler’s war, two-fifths of arable land had gone out of use, and millions of farm workers left the countryside for ever, a trend mildly ameliorated in the mid-thirties by the arrival of tariffs and labour-saving technology.

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A History of Modern Britain by Andrew Marr

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