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The Strange Death of Liberal England [Paperback]

George Dangerfield
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 27.94 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Book Description

March 1 1997
At the beginning of the twentieth century England's empire spanned the globe, its economy was strong, and its political system seemed immune to the ills that inflicted so many other countries. After a resounding electoral triumph in 1906, the Liberals formed the government of the most powerful nation on earth, yet within a few years the House of Lords lost its absolute veto over legislation, the Home Rule crisis brought Ireland to the brink of civil war and led to an army mutiny, the campaign for woman's suffrage created widespread civil disorder and discredited the legal and penal systems, and an unprecedented wave of strikes swept the land.

This is a classic account, first published in 1935, of the dramatic upheaval and political change that overwhelmed England in the period 1910-1914. Few books of history retain their relevance and vitality after more than sixty years. The Strange Death of Liberal England is one of the most important books of the English past, a prime example that history can be abiding literature. As a portrait of England enmeshed in the turbulence of new movements, which often led to violence against the pieties of Liberal England—until it was overwhelmed by the greatest violence of all, World War I—this extraordinary book has continued to exert a powerful influence on the way historians have observed early twentieth-century England.


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"The book is as vital, if not more so, as when it was first published. . . . While hundreds of academic monographs have been forgotten, The Strange Death of Liberal England continues as a major influence on how the period is viewed, and scholars and teachers spend considerable energy in coming to terms with the picture of England, in all its richness and complexity, presented in the book. . . . The interpretation will not die; no matter how often it may be knocked on the head, it has shaped the way the period is viewed. With its extraordinary literate and witty prose, its power of description and analysis . . . it is a study that will always have to be taken into account. There can be few works that are so alive after so many years, as likely to survive, or as enjoyable to read." —From the Foreword

From the Inside Flap

At the beginning of the twentieth century England’s empire spanned the globe, its economy was strong, and its political system seemed immune to the ills that inflicted so many other countries. After a resounding electoral triumph in 1906, the Liberals formed the government of the most powerful nation on earth, yet within a few years the House of Lords lost its absolute veto over legislation, the Home Rule crisis brought Ireland to the brink of civil war and led to an army mutiny, the campaign for woman’s suffrage created widespread civil disorder and discredited the legal and penal systems, and an unprecedented wave of strikes swept the land.
This is a classic account, first published in 1935, of the dramatic upheaval and political change that overwhelmed England in the period 1910-1914. Few books of history retain their relevance and vitality after more than sixty years. The Strange Death of Liberal England is one of the most important books of the English past, a prime example that history can be abiding literature. As a portrait of England enmeshed in the turbulence of new movements, which often led to violence against the pieties of Liberal England—until it was overwhelmed by the greatest violence of all, World War I—this extraordinary book has continued to exert a powerful influence on the way historians have observed early twentieth-century England.


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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars When England Fell Apart May 2 2000
Format:Paperback
A broad middle-class consensus-based on free trade, free markets and personal liberty-ruled late Victorian England. The consensus collapsed in the first decade of the Twentieth Century. The House of Lords, with far greater powers than it has today, was reactionary and obstructionist. The Irish, the feminists and the labor unions demanded redress for grievances long neglected. The ruling Liberal Party was never able to broker meaningful compromises and the extremists on the left and the right grew more and more powerful. Faced with arson campaigns and general strikes at home and civil war in Ireland, the government seemed about to fall apart when World War I broke out. The Nineteenth Century was gone for good.
It's a complicated history but Dangerfield tells it well. His writing is clear and often humorous, and he has a good sense of story. He never weighs you down with detail, but you never feel you've missed anything important. Some 65 years after it was written, this is as readable as ever. If you have any interest in modern English history, you must read this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Classic but Slanted Account April 14 2003
Format:Paperback
This book is the classic account of Edwardian Britain and is on the suggested reading list of the Institute for Edwardian Studies...It was written by a contemporary journalist and is a great read. However, it focuses a great deal on the political side and lacks objectivity. An excellent counter-weight to Dangerfield is David Powell, The Edwardian Crisis. This is a first-rate academic revision to what Dangerfield and past scholars have written about the Edwardian period, but it is not really for those new to the subject.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A very excellent book May 24 1999
Format:Paperback
I finished reading this book on Dec. 25, 1977, and my post reading note said: "The book, in inimitable Dangerfield style covers the period from 1800 to 1906 sketchily and the period from 1906 to December 1921 carefully. Dec. 6, 1921, is the date the Irish delegates signed the Treaty--the Irish Civil War came in July 1922 and is beyond the scope of this book. This was an excellent treatment, very fair to the Irish and all in all just an excellent treatment: really the best I've read."
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5.0 out of 5 stars Essential Book on Democratic Politics June 5 2001
Format:Paperback
Whoever you are and whatever you do you can find soemthing to take away from this book. Essential for an understanding of politics in a democracy, and better because it gives readers an example to learn from, rather than just theory. Also a great study in human relationships and the tragi-comedic nature of life. Probably one of the best and wittiest books on history/politics ever written.
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