Twentieth-Century Britain

Twentieth-Century Britain

Twentieth-Century Britain

Twentieth-Century Britain

Excerpt

It is commonly remarked that no satisfactory general history of Britain for the first half of the twentieth century exists. This book represents an endeavor to fill this need. Having at last completed the task, I am somewhat aghast at my temerity in undertaking it. One must embark on such a project to appreciate fully its difficulties and frustrations as well as its satisfactions.

I have written for the general reader and the student rather than for the mature scholar and have sought to present in some depth a fairly comprehensive survey of those aspects of British life in the twentieth century which seem to me of interest and significance, with enough attention to the late-Victorian era to provide some understanding of the England of 1900. The book is not, generally speaking, the result of original research, but it is based on very extensive reading over the past dozen years. I think I may fairly say that I have consulted most of the important published materials relevant to my purpose: parliamentary and other official records, periodicals and newspapers, diaries and memoirs and autobiographies, as well as biographies and special studies. The degree to which I have drawn on the investigations and interpretations of others will be apparent to anyone familiar with the literature of the period. At the same time I have not hesitated to reach my own conclusions on controversial matters. And I do not consider it unimportant that at many points I have been able to supplement my reading from personal observation.

A few remarks on scope and focus are in order. As I have proceeded in time I have somewhat widened my area of consideration. The closer one gets to the present the more difficult it is to select. Disordered detail which . . .

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