Following on from the success of A N. Wilson's THE VICTORIANS, Roy Hattersley's major new appraisal of Edwardian Britain is his finest book to date.
Edwardian Britain is the quintessential age of nostalgia, often seen as the last long summer before the cataclysmic changes of the twentieth century began to take form. The class system remained rigidly in place and thousands were employed in domestic service. The habits and sports of the aristocracy were an everyday indulgence. But it was an age of invention as well as tradition. It saw the first widespread use of the motor car, the first aeroplane and the first use of the telegraph. It was also a time of vastly improved education and the public appetite for authors such as Conan Doyle, Rudyard Kipling and E. M. Forster was increased by greater literacy. There were signs too, of the corner history was soon to turn, with the problematic Boer War hinting at a new British weakness overseas and the rise of the Suffragette movement pushing the boundaries of the social and political landscape.
Informative and always easy to read . . . Hattersley has done a fine job - Andrew Lycett, SUNDAY TIMES
Well written and wide ranging book . . . his account of the period is consistently enjoyable - Piers Brendon, DAILY TELEGRAPH
Hattersley makes a riveting case . . . a bold, sweeping synthesis . . . full of gleaming nuggets and offbeat points redolent of hours hunched over neglected papers. It is no surprise to readers of his journalism that it is superbly written, gleefully but wryly highlighting the absurdities and pomposities of the age . . . Hattersley's prose flows smooth as the port at a Sandringham shooting party. What makes this book is not just the quality of its social and political analysis, but the breadth of detail and the quality of its gossipy anecdotes - Colin Donald, HERALD
[A] solid book . . . Hattersley writes entertainingly . . . He is a clear and vigorous writer - Anne Chisholm, SUNDAY TELEGRAPH