1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Good overview of the inter-war period,
This review is from: Borrowed Time: The Story of Britain Between the Wars (Paperback)
This certainly isn't a definitive account of Britain in the inter-war period, but it is nonetheless a well-written introduction to the political and social history of the period. The first chapter looks at the Treaty of Versailles and includes John Maynard Keynes' prescient comment to his wife that "the peace is outrageous and impossible and can bring nothing but misfortune behind it". The final sentence of the book brings us back to the errors of Versailles, and the price that Britain, France & the USA would pay for those errors.
As you would expect, Hattersley is stronger on the political events but the book includes chapters on transport developments (especially the expansion of the car industry and developments in air transport), the arts & literature, architecture, the BBC, the Press, sport. The political aspects cover all the main issues of the inter-war period - Ireland, India, the abdication crisis, the depression of the 1920's/30's, housing, the first Labour government, etc.. At times I think the narrative became a little confusing because events are described in individual subject chapters, with not much reference to concurrent events or themes. I also felt that some of the commentary was based on a fairly limited range of sources, particularly in relation to the cultural aspects where I didn't detect much enthusiasm or any real analysis. This contrasted with the sometimes overly detailed description of the political events of the period.
Hattersley isn't an academic and this book doesn't offer a deep analysis of the period, relying on secondary sources, but he provides a good overview for the lay reader.