How has the UK evolved into the country it is today? This clear, comprehensive survey of its history since 1900 explores the political, economic, social and cultural changes which have divided the nation and held it together, and how these changes were experienced by individuals and communities. Pat Thane challenges conventional interpretations of Britain's past based on stark contrasts, like the dull, conservative 1950s versus the liberated 'swinging sixties', and explores the key themes of nationalisms, the rise and fall of the welfare state, economic success and failure, imperial decline, and the UK's relationship with Europe. Highlighting changing living standards and expectations and inequalities of class, income, wealth, race, gender, sexuality, religion and place, she reveals what has (and has not) changed in the UK since 1900, why, and how, helping the reader to understand how our contemporary society, including its divisions and inequalities, was formed.
How has the UK evolved into the country it is today? This clear, comprehensive survey of its history since 1900 explores the political, economic, social and cultural changes which have divided the nation and held it together, and how these changes were experienced by individuals and communities. Pat Thane challenges conventional interpretations of Britain's past based on stark contrasts, like the dull, conservative 1950s versus the liberated 'swinging sixties', and explores the key themes of nationalisms, the rise and fall…
'A clear, lucid, authoritative survey of political history, social policy, and the persistent divisions cleaving twentieth-century Britain. Thane provides an especially incisive picture of the effects of shifting national policies on gender and class, demonstrating how the retrenchments of the Thatcher era recreated fissures not so very different from those in the first decades of the twentieth century. This highly readable and accessible text is a perfect companion for classes in twentieth-century Britain.'
Judith R. Walkowitz - Professor Emerita of History, The John Hopkins University
'Pat Thane has written an enlightening history of modern Britain that is at once an admirable textbook and a thoroughly good read. Her account throws as much light upon the changing social structure as upon political developments, all with a firm grasp of up-to-date research.'
Peter Clarke - Professor Emeritus of Modern British History, University of Cambridge
'In order to understand the present, we need to know the past. Pat Thane is an eloquent guide to the history of a divided 'United Kingdom'. As one of Britain’s most distinguished historians, Thane has a forensic eye for the unpredictable fault lines in British history and politics.'
Joanna Bourke - Birkbeck, University of London
'Pat Thane is a distinguished historian of modern Britain who has written incisively on the welfare state, on old age and pensions, and on women. In Divided Kingdom, she surveys the history of twentieth-century Britain more broadly, but with insights gained from her more specialized studies. This allows her to ask different questions and give different answers to a host of problems. The result is a major contribution that links the present with the past in a powerful way.'
James Cronin - Boston College, Massachusetts
Pat Thane,King's College London
Pat Thane is a Research Professor in Contemporary British History at King's College London. Previously Professor of Contemporary History at the University of Sussex and the Institute of Historical Research, University of London, she has been a Visiting Professor in New York, China, Australia, Japan, Taiwan, and Chile. She is also a convenor of History and Policy and President of the Social History Society UK and a Fellow of the British Academy. Her publications include Sinners? Scroungers? Saints? Unmarried Motherhood in Twentieth Century Britain (2013, with Tanya Evans), Unequal Britain: Equalities in Britain since 1945 (2010), Old Age in English History (2000) and The Foundations of the Welfare State (1996).
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