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The Making of Modern Britain [Kindle Edition]

Andrew Marr
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (101 customer reviews)

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Book Description

In The Making of Modern Britain, Andrew Marr paints a fascinating portrait of life in Britain during the first half of the twentieth century as the country recovered from the grand wreckage of the British Empire.

Between the death of Queen Victoria and the end of the Second World War, the nation was shaken by war and peace. The two wars were the worst we had ever known and the episodes of peace among the most turbulent and surprising. As the political forum moved from Edwardian smoking rooms to an increasingly democratic Westminster, the people of Britain experimented with extreme ideas as they struggled to answer the question ‘How should we live?’ Socialism? Fascism? Feminism? Meanwhile, fads such as eugenics, vegetarianism and nudism were gripping the nation, while the popularity of the music hall soared. It was also a time that witnessed the birth of the media as we know it today and the beginnings of the welfare state.

Beyond trenches, flappers and Spitfires, this is a story of strange cults and economic madness, of revolutionaries and heroic inventors, sexual experiments and raucous stage heroines. From organic food to drugs, nightclubs and celebrities to package holidays, crooked bankers to sleazy politicians, the echoes of today's Britain ring from almost every page.

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Product Description


'Frequently revealing and surprising, his presentation makes this a pleasure to listen to.'
--Choice Magazine

Book Description

Published alongside a landmark BBC2 series, this is the story of Britain from 1900 to the end of the Second World War

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 3693 KB
  • Print Length: 465 pages
  • Publisher: Macmillan; Reprints edition (2 Oct. 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003DWC6OA
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (101 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #40,670 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Andrew Marr was born in Glasgow in 1959. He studied English at the University of Cambridge and has since enjoyed a long career in political journalism, working for the Scotsman, the Independent, the Daily Express and the Observer. From 2000 to 2005 he was the BBC's Political Editor. He has written and presented TV documentaries on history, science and politics, and presents the weekly Andrew Marr Show on Sunday mornings on BBC1 and Start the Week on Radio 4. Andrew lives in London with his family.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
95 of 97 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars History: beautifully told, shame about some facts 18 Nov. 2009
By father2
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Andrew Marr is the kind of person you wish had been your History teacher at school. Many people view history as a dry subject, boring at best and downright death inducing at worst. But history, as presented by Mr Marr, comes alive and throbs with vitality. This book, following on from his previous one, covers the period from the start of the twentieth century right up until the end of the Second World War. During that time there is a wealth of history waiting to be discovered and many things will amaze you.

Sadly though Andrew Marr has at times been sloppy with his facts. For example Mr Marr rightly claims that Queen Victoria was born in 1819 and became Queen in 1837, but mistakenly states that Queen Victoria was twenty when she became Queen, when in fact she had turned eighteen less than a month previously. When you find errors like this it tends to undermine your confidence in the facts being presented overall throughout the book. Some proof reading would have served Mr Marr well, one feels.

But that said this is a very good book, filled with a wealth of history that is easy to read and even more easy to understand. It is not dry history, but is alive and helps us to understand the path our country took to arrive in our modern times. Along the way you will learn about Edwardians, World War One, the General Strike, Depression and of course the road to further conflict during World War Two.

Personally I love history and read a lot of books on the subject. But this book will appeal to people on a much wider scale and reading through it's pages won't make you feel as though you are back in a boring history lesson. Rather you will feel like a tourist travelling through time soaking up what our grandparents and great grandparents experienced during their lives.
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101 of 104 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a wonderful read! 10 Nov. 2009
I hadn't read anything by Andrew Marr before, but as 1900-1945 is a period I'm very interested in I thought I'd give this a go. Marr's an engaging TV presenter, but his writing style is even more evocative, and it's almost as if he's telling you the story of the period face to face with the way he manages to bring the period to life so well. You can almost hear him speaking to you as you read.

The social history element was what I enjoyed most - the stories of the music hall entertainers, the first night club owners, the Suffragettes, the birth of the mortgage-obsessed society, the first package holidays - but what's fascinating is the way Marr weaves politics, general history, social history and commentary together so that you don't even realise you're moving from one subject to another. This was a great read, and educational, and I'm definitely going to be buying his next book!
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163 of 170 people found the following review helpful
Marr's previous history of post war Britain was hugely accessible, well written, populist and often very quirky. One remembers the flashes of detail such as the impact on the British people of unpopular imported tinned fish "snoek" after the second world war or his dislike of the eighties "big hair" rock bands. As a big post 1945 political history for the general reader it has few equals but can Marr perform the same trick in his new and equally weighty tome "The Making of Modern Britain" subtitled "From Queen Victoria to VE Day"

It is set in a historical period that has been subject to forensic analysis from eminent historians ranging from A J P Taylor, Peter Clarke, Paul Addison and Martin Pugh. Similarly in terms of key events like the First World War there is an embarrassment of riches in terms of the works of Huw Strachen, John Keegan and Niall Ferguson. As such this period is one of the most studied and argued over era's in British history and it begs the question what can Marr add?

Ultimately the value of Marrs approach it to pitch his book again into the field of populist history and encourage accessibility. No doubt students and the general reader will use his book as a source to get into other historical works for which we must pay our thanks to him. His book accompanies a TV series and therefore has to be lively in its analysis, entertaining and self deprecating. As Marr has stated in the series bumf "If you are not trying to make people watch, if you're determined to maintain your dignity, then you're in the wrong business". That said the sections in this book on Music Halls, the Suffragettes, Charlie Chaplin and political figures like Asquith and Lloyd George are excellent and provide real illumination.
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48 of 50 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very good book 19 Oct. 2009
The Making of Modern Britain is a very good book dealing with the era when Britian evolved from a Victorian superpower to the dawn of the country we know today. It is well-written, insightful, opinionated and has a very good pace. However, there is a slight hint of bias at times. Also because it is covering 45 years in around 400-500 pages it does not cover everything, and partly as the result of this some may struggle to get used to the structure, which although roughly chrononlogical does jump about a bit in both themes (just because the author was the political editor of the BBC do not assume that it is a dry book about politics) and time. The one major criticsm I have of the work though is the bibliography which is not up to the standard of the rest of the work . All in all though a very good book.
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