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A Companion to Contemporary Britain: 1939-2000

Paul Addison (Editor), Harriet Jones (Editor)
ISBN: 978-1-4051-6730-7
604 pages
April 2007, Wiley-Blackwell
A Companion to Contemporary Britain: 1939-2000 (1405167300) cover image
A Companion to Contemporary Britain covers the key themes and debates of 20th-century history from the outbreak of the Second World War to the end of the century.

  • Assesses the impact of the Second World War
  • Looks at Britain’s role in the wider world, including the legacy of Empire, Britain’s ‘special relationship’ with the United States, and integration with continental Europe
  • Explores cultural issues, such as class consciousness, immigration and race relations, changing gender roles, and the impact of the mass media
  • Covers domestic politics and the economy
  • Introduces the varied perspectives dominating historical writing on this period
  • Identifies the key issues which are likely to fuel future debate
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List of Figures x

List of Tables xi

Notes on Contributors xiii

Introduction 1

1 The Impact of the Second World War 3
Paul Addison

2 The Impact of the Cold War 23
Harriet Jones

3 Population and the Family 42
Pat Thane

4 Cities, Suburbs, Countryside 59
Mark Clapson

5 Class 76
Arthur Marwick

6 Immigration and Racism 93
Wendy Webster

7 Sport and Recreation 110
Richard Holt

8 Youth Culture 127
Bill Osgerby

9 Sexuality 145
Lesley A. Hall

10 Economic ‘Decline’ in Post-War Britain 164
Jim Tomlinson

11 The Transformation of the Economy 180
Hugh Pemberton

12 The Geography of Economic Change 203
P. W. Daniels

13 Living Standards and Consumption 226
Ina Zweiniger-Bargielowska

14 Gender: Change and Continuity 245
Dolly Smith Wilson

15 Welfare, Poverty and Social Inequalities 263
Janet Fink

16 Education 281
Roy Lowe

17 Health 297
John Welshman

18 Rewriting the Unwritten Constitution 315
Andrew Blick

19 The Secret State 333
Richard J. Aldrich

20 Rethinking the ‘Rise and Fall’ of Two-Party Politics 351
Steven Fielding

21 The Rise and Disintegration of the Working Classes 371
Robert Taylor

22 The Growth of Social Movements 389
Holger Nehring

23 Civil Society 407
Nicholas Deakin

24 The Politics of Devolution 427
Christopher Harvie

25 The Politics of Northern Ireland 444
Thomas Hennessey

26 Britain in the World Economy 463
Catherine R. Schenk

27 The End of Empire 482
Bill Schwarz

28 The Anglo-American ‘Special Relationship’ 499
Michael F. Hopkins and John W. Young

29 Britain and Europe 517
James Ellison

30 British Defence Policy 539
Simon Ball

Select Bibliography 556

Index 567

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Paul Addison is Director of the Centre for WWII Studies at the University of Edinburgh. His books include The Road to 1945: British Politics and the Second World War (1975) and Churchill on the Home Front 1900-1955 (1992).

Harriet Jones is a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Historical Research, University of London.

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  • A Companion to the History of Britain from the outbreak of the Second World War to the end of the century
  • Assesses the impact of WWII
  • Looks at Britain’s role in the wider world, including the legacy of Empire, Britain’s ‘special relationship’ with the United States, and integration with continental Europe
  • Explores cultural issues, such as class consciousness, immigration and race relations, changing gender roles, and the impact of the mass media
  • Covers domestic politics and the economy
  • Introduces the varied perspectives dominating historical writing on this period
  • Identifies the key issues which are likely to fuel future debate
See More
A CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title of the Year

"This companion makes it easy to survey subjects quickly for the latest and best historiography, and provides lots of avenues by which to travel for further knowledge." (Journal of World History, September 2009)

"[This volume] lives us to [the] high expectations of the series of Blackwell Companions. Informed, wide-ranging and up-to-date syntheses cover what might be regarded as standard subjects like the Second World War ... and the transformation of the British economy. More importantly, there are chapters on topics ignored by most histories of Britain; for example ... the suburbanization of Britain, sport and youth culture." (History)

"A definitive textbook for contemporary British history. Its breadth of subjects is compelling, and the quality of its contributions ... superb, with many subjects dealt with by authors able to pour a career’s worth of groundbreaking research into their introductory surveys. Praise must be given for a consistently informative volume, which places so many interpretations and discussions in one place. Overall, Addison and Jones can congratulate themselves for editing a superb collection, one that can reasonably lay claim to being the foremost textbook on contemporary British history." (Reviews in History)

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