We Danced All Night: A Social History of Britain Between the Wars Hardcover – 3 Jul 2008
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Pugh is one of the most well-respected, diligent and honest scholars working in British history today.This book deserves to be read. (Gerard Degroot Scotland on Sunday)
The link between a distinct wing of Conservatism and the Italian form of fascism is substantiated in this outstandingly revelatory book. (Edward Pearce Glasgow Herald)
This book demonstrates for the first time the true spread and depth of fascist beliefs- and the extent to which they were distinctly British. (David Graham Manchester Evening News)
buoyant and brilliant (Bettaby Hughes The Times)
A fascinating detailed look at how we lived during the interwar years. (The Daily Mail Christmas Books The Daily Mail Christmas Books)
'A fascinating detailed look at how we lived during the interwar years'See all Product description
Top customer reviews
The result is an exhaustive work. As an academic read, it is entertaining and well written. As a light holiday pocket book - Well, you’d have to have above normal interest in the topic. I felt sometimes back at Uni when reading it, but at the same time backtracked and thought that it would have been more fun studying if all academic books were as this one.
I bought this one together with Lucy Moore’s “Anything goes” on the recommendation of Amazon. Though the books match in topic (Moore on the US, Pugh on the UK), they could not have been more different. Whereas Moore’s book is based on renowned news stories (and citing newspapers) to provide a snapshot, Pugh goes deep in to the matter. While Moore was done in an afternoon plus, I spent a week reading Pugh. I know I lot more about the common person in the 1920s than I know after reading Moore.
If you are looking for something that has everything you wanted to know about Britain in the mid-war years but never dared ask, this book is for you.
What I particularly like is the arrangement of chapters by topic rather than a straight 1918-1939 approach e.g. Food Between the Wars, Childhood and education, Sport and gambling, the countryside etc.
There are some problems: 1) some repetition, as though the chapters were insufficiently cross-checked, 2) quite a few typos and a maddeningly eccentric approach to the use (or non-use, to be more accurate) of commas and semi-colons, 3) An occasionally overly-convoluted writing style, 4) an over-reliance on a few key sources, especially autobiographical accounts, in some places, 5) as is frequent in books of this kind, a relative lack of sustained analysis (with the notable exception of the chapters on empire and the British regions, where the latter is particularly thoughtful). The first two points might seem picky, but such minor errors are too frequent to just ignore. One suspects the book may have been rushed a little as deadlines approached. The latter point is a common one, but given Pugh's initial thesis some more developed argument on its behalf - even if only in a conclusion - would have been welcome.
Still, the strengths of the book more an outweigh the weaknesses. If your prevailing image of the 1920s and 1930s is based on media stereotypes or arguments from those with a political axe to grind, you will see the whole period differently once you have read this book. I came away with much to think about and am grateful to Martin Pugh for producing something so rewarding and stimulating. I can't think of anyone who wouldn't benefit in some way from reading this book.
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