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Lost Victory: British Dreams, British Realities 1 Paperback – 10 Aug 2001


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Product details

  • Paperback: 520 pages
  • Publisher: Pan; 2 edition (10 Aug 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330346393
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330346399
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 3.2 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 680,080 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Book Description

In 1945 Britain emerged triumphant and victorious from the Second World War. On July 26, after a landslide election victory by the Labour party, Winston Churchill resigned and Clement Attlee became Prime Minister. The country looked forward to the 'New Jerusalem' that Labour had promised, a land in which poverty, ill health, slums and unemployment would be banished by lavish state expenditure. But by 1950 Britain was impoverished, the 'new Jerusalem' was a shaky structure, only half built. Why? In this brilliant, savage and original book, based on fascinating new material from Cabinet and other Whitehall records, Correlli Barnett shows the enormous double cost of 'New Jerusalem', and points out the destructive contradictions between mistaken strategies and their consequences.

About the Author

Correlli Barnett is a world-renowned historian with particular prowess in military, naval, economic and social subjects. Faber Finds are reissuing his four volume The Pride and Fall sequence: The Collapse of British Power, The Audit of War, The Lost Victory, The Verdict of Peace, as well as The Swordbearers, Britain and her Army, 1509-1970 (winner of the Royal Society of Literature Heinemann Award) and Engage the Enemy More Closely (winner of the Yorkshire Post Book of the Year Award). --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 10 Oct 2003
Format: Paperback
The most fascinating, interdisciplinary study of this so critical period that I have read. Taking into account both historic, cultural and economic aspects, this book presents a convincing tale of British economic decline in the post war years. A must for everybody wishing to understand the dynamics of what happened. You will have to fight your way through perhaps a few too many numbers, but it is worth the effort. I have read the book several times now!
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A searing analysis of the failings of British politics, industry and education in the critical period of 1945 to the mid 50s. Britain muffed its chance to update its technological base, infrastructure and the vocational skills on which prosperity rests. Unlike Germany and Japan, who were already accelerating past us in the late 50s.

This book shows that investment was totally inadequate - in some vital industries (telecoms is an example) more "absent" than just insufficient, and what was permitted because of labour and energy shortages, was misdirected by inadequate management or blocked by truculent trades unions.

The waste of human talent and capital in piecemeal, small scale units like coal mining - a "political" industry if ever there was one- meant that there was insufficient of either to invest in the enterprises that needed them: chemicals, electronics, nuclear power,communications. The stagnation created by concentrating on old industries meant that cancers grew in them. The miners' strike of 1984 which caused such anger resentment and enmity could have been avoided if the pits had been wound down rationally over the previous two decades. Mrs Thatcher had to be an A&E surgeon, when earlier physicians had failed to address the illness.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Ian Millard on 16 Feb 2009
Format: Paperback
Corelli Barnett, one of the most lateral-minded and accurate of the British historians, a Fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge and author of many important works (see his Wikipedia entry), has received only a CBE honour in all his years, despite devalued knighthoods and even peerages being awarded increasingly to those who win sports medals, are popular on television or who sing in popular music groups. Why? It can only be because this man writes the truth and "they" hate it! The Lost Victory shows that Britain had the choice, as a nation, in 1945, to either create a welfare state "New Jerusalem", or to pursue a post-imperial world role with the Commonwealth and/or with the American allies, or to revitalize its industry and economy generally. It might accomplish one or two, but not all three, because the War promoted and pursued by Churchill and his mainly Labour allies (the WW2 government being a "National" Government) had completely impoverished the UK.
In the event Attlee's government of 1945-50 tried to do all three plicies and failed to a large extent in all three.

Barnett does rely heavily on statistics but in this book they are apposite. One such, that was news to me, was that the UK received twice the American Marshall Aid compared to West Germany. The standard line is that "Germany was devastated by the war and built up on new lines by American aid, while Britain just struggled on". No, not so! The American aid monies were almost entirely wasted both on social experiments and on the recent ex-Empire now Commonwealth and aid to those countries. The economy lost out.
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