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The Rise and Fall of the British Nation: A Twentieth-Century History

David Edgerton

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Penguin
04 June 2019
History; British & Irish history; 20th century history: c 1900 to c 2000; Geopolitics; Economic history
It is usual to see the United Kingdom as an island of continuity in an otherwise convulsed and unstable Europe; its political history a smooth sequence of administrations, a story of building a welfare state and coping with decline. But what if Britain's history was approached from a different angle? What if we wrote about it as we might write the history of Germany, say, or the Soviet Union, as a story of power, and of transformation?

David Edgerton's major new book breaks out of the confines of traditional British national history to reveal an unfamiliar place, subject to radical discontinuities. Out of a liberal, capitalist, genuinely global power of a unique kind, there arose from the 1940s a distinct British nation. This was committed to internal change, making it much more like the great continental powers. From the 1970s it became bound up both with the European Union and with foreign capital in new ways. Such a perspective produces new and refreshed understanding of everything from the nature of British politics to the performance of British industry. Packed with surprising examples and arguments, The Rise and Fall of the British Nation gives us a grown-up, unsentimental history, one which is crucial at a moment of serious reconsideration for the country and its future.
By:   David Edgerton
Imprint:   Penguin
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 198mm,  Width: 129mm,  Spine: 31mm
Weight:   513g
ISBN:   9780141975979
ISBN 10:   0141975970
Pages:   720
Publication Date:   04 June 2019
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

David Edgerton is Hans Rausing Professor of the History of Science and Technology and Professor of Modern British History at King's College London. He is the author of a sequence of ground-breaking books in 20th century British history- Science, Technology and the British Industrial 'Decline', 1870-1970; Warfare State- Britain, 1920-1970; as well as Britain's War Machine, and England and the Aeroplane, both published by Penguin. He is also the author of the iconoclastic and brilliant The Shock of the Old- Technology and Global History Since 1900.

Reviews for The Rise and Fall of the British Nation: A Twentieth-Century History

... refreshing and immensely stimulating, and should be compulsory reading for anyone wanting to understand the reality of twentieth-century Britain. Lewis Namier, another historian known for his combative brand of scholarship, viewed iconoclasm as the judge of a great historian, that having produced an account of a period 'others should not be able to practise within its sphere in the terms of the preceding era'. Edgerton has certainly achieved this. -- Oliver Hadingham * History * Edgerton is an extraordinary historian ... Written with bracing elan, Rise and Fall generates insights at every turn. Edgerton set out to rattle the cage of cliches which imprison our historical and political imaginations , and succeeds magnificently. -- Nick Pearce * OpenDemocracy * Timely jolt to a deluded 'Bullshit Britain'. David Edgerton fillets national delusion and historical amnesia ... of a country that knows so little of its own history. -- Chris Kissane * Irish Times * A sweepingly, and ambitiously, revisionist account of 20th century British history ... full of striking lines ... and a very important challenge to much of the existing historiography. -- Duncan Weldon * Progressive Review * Original, opinionated, scholarly, complex and immensely stimulating ... this ambitious and provocative book achieves something remarkable. It provides a striking new perspective on our past, one that future historians may not accept but will be unable to ignore. -- Piers Brendon * Literary Review * Beautifully written and can be read with pleasure by the general reader as well as the trained historian -- Vernon Bogdanor * Daily Telegraph * Unsentimental and rigorous rewriting of British history. ... It looks beyond the froth of political debate, takes business seriously and analyses government as much from Whitehall and administration as Westminster and politics. -- A. W. Purdue * Times Higher Education * Stimulating and bracing ... He demonstrates that the story the British tell about themselves - and how it is taught in schools and discussed in the public sphere - is bogus. -- Iain Martin * The Times * Forget almost everything you thought you knew about Britain in the 20th century ... You will not find a better informed history of this country in the last century. -- David Goodhart * Evening Standard * An extraordinary revisionist study of modern Britain ... Edgerton's aim here is nothing short of a radical repositioning of our sense of ourselves as a nation. It's a startling book, and an unexpected thesis ... I'll be reading [it] over and over, and for years to come.' -- Brian Morton * The Herald * A fierce and dazzling account of 20th-century Britain -- Christopher de Bellaigue * Guardian * Every so often a book comes out that the entire political class needs to read ... Edgerton is Britain's most exciting and arresting late-modern historian ... Thanks to this rich and compelling book, we now have a proper map and compass. -- Colin Kidd * New Statesman *


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