A History of the Modern British Isles, 1914-1999
This book presents a "total history" of the British Isles from the outbreak of the First World War through to the late 1990s. Written by one of the pioneers of twentieth-century history, the volume offers readers a multi-layered narrative combining social, economic, cultural and political perspectives on this era of significant and rapid change.
The author describes the "big events" that dominated British politics through the twentieth-century. He gives due weight to developments outside England in Scotland and Wales, and provides substantial coverage of the Irish question, highlighting the extent to which Ireland has been a preoccupation throughout the period. Alongside this narrative, Professor Marwick explains the underlying forces operating at each stage, linking these long-term "circumstances" to the political decisions of the time. This dual approach allows for penetrating analysis and reflection, helping to create for the reader a full picture of British life in the period. For instance, the book offers not only a discussion of the politics of the First and Second World Wars, but also an analysis of the economic and ideological repercussions of the wars and their consequences for British society at large. The volume also covers themes such as the cultural revolution, women's and gay liberation, economic recession and recovery, and social change in the 1990s.
Professor Marwick writes in an engaging way, suitable for general readers and students. Throughout he emphasizes the "reflexive quality" of the book, inviting readers to reflect on the nature of historical study and to participate actively in the historical enquiry.