In 1970 the "cold war" wass still cold, Northern Ireland's troubles were escalating, the UK's relations with the EEC were unclear, and corporatist approaches to the economy precariously persisted. By 1990 Communism was crumbling world-wide, Thatcher's economic revolution had occurred, terrorism in Northern Ireland was waning, multiculturalism was in place, family structures were changing fast, and British political institutions had become controversial. This, the first thorough, wide-ranging, and synoptic study of the UK so far published on this period, has two overriding aims: to show how British institutions evolved, but also to illuminate changes in the British people: their hopes and fears, values and enjoyments, failures and achievements. It therefore equips its readers to understand events since 1990, and so to decide for themselves where the UK should now be going.
In this, the firs of two self-standing volumes bringing "The New Oxford History of England" up to 1990, Brian Harrison begins in 1951 with much of the empire intact and with Britain enjoying high prestige in Europe. When the volume ends in 1970, the empire had gone, central planning was in trouble, and event the British political system had become controversial. In an unusually wide-ranging, yet impressively detailed volume, Harrison approaches the period from unfamiliar directions, focusing less on the politicians and more on the decisions the British people made largely for themselves.
This volume covers the period from the repeal of the Corn Laws to the dramatic failure of gladstone's first Home Rule Bill in three defining themes: "Established industrialism" encapsulating the growing acceptance that factory life and manufacturing had come to stay. for the first time in history, more worked in industry than on the land; An examination of "multiple national identities" within the United Kingdom revealing the existence of a variety of overlapping traditions flourishing alongside an increasingly influential unitary state; Public culture as something generated by an intermeshed set of economic, scientific, literary and artistic developments. This original and authoritative book will define these pivotal years in British history for the next generation.
The Black Death, the Peasants' Revolt, the Hundred Years War, the Wars of the Roses... a succession of dramatic social and political upheavals reshaped England in the period 1360 to 1461. In his lucid and penetrating account of this formative period, Gerald Harriss draws on the research of the last thirty years to describe late medieval society at its peak. The political narrative centres on the rule and eventual deposition of Richard II on charges of tyranny and the establishment of the House of Lancaster, which was in turn overthrown in the Wars of the Roses. Abroad, Henry V's heroic victory at Agincourt in 1415 opened the way to the English conquest and colonisation of Normandy and a projected union of England and France. Far reaching chenges occured in English society. The Black Death produced a crisis in agrarian structures, marked by the Peasant's Revolt in 1381 and the end of serfdom. A class structure emerged in landed society, with grades of knights, esquires, gentlemen and yeomen linked to the nobility through patronage and service. The marked individualism of this society was accompanied by a growing sense of national identity. Literature expressed an assertive patriotism, facilitated by the spread of London english as a standard language, while a spate of church building developed perpendicular as a distinctive national style. the increasing participation of the laity in the Church stimulated new forms of Catholic devotion and prompted the emergence of the proto-Protestantism of John Wyclif and the Lollards. Through a close examination of these aspects of late medieval England, Gerald Harriss traces its transformation from a feudal into a national society.
Conventional views of the eighteenth century emphasize its political stability, aristocratic government, stately manners, and Georgian elegance. Professor Langford, however, also brings to life a less orderly world of treasonable plots, rioting mobs, and Hogarthian vulgarity. Using the latest research, and a wealth of original sources, often generously quoted, he tells a highly readable tale of remarkable contrast and changes. Pitt, Fox and Walpole rub shoulders with Dr Johnson, Pope and Fielding. This books shows the vitality and variety of an age often seen in static terms. This was, above all, a period of rapid commercial growth and burgeoning bourgeois pretensions. Many characteristic features of eighteenth-century life were the result. They included military success and imperial expansion, political maturation and economic development, cultural confidence and polite manners. But there were also tensions and contradictions. Evangelical enthusiasm jostled with scientific rationalism, oligarchical politics with popular insubordination, entrepreneurial opulence with plebeian poverty, sentimentality with utilitarian reform. Professor Langford examines all these features and explains the way they relate to each other. He demonstrates that this was a society constantly being stretched by change, and perpetually responding to its challenge.
Since first publication in 1976, "Modern Britain" has been widely used as a comprehensive and straightforward introduction to some of the most important features of British life today. The author provides a clear account of a wide range of topics that are keys to understanding the British culture including the system of government, the structure of education, the social services, family life and the mass media.
The "Macmilllan Focus" series provides background material which is designed to present a series of "insiders' views" of that world. "Focus on Britain Today" has been developed especially for students at secondary level, who are required to learn about British "civilisation" as part of their language studies. It uses up-to-date information and communicative methodology to provide motivating practice based on those aspects of the country in the 1990s which are relevant to learners of today. The topic-based language practice involves the input of information from textual, diagrammatic and visual sources. Specific language items are clearly presented and practised, and unfamiliar language carefully glossed. The emphasis throughout is on the exploration of and discovery about the target society in relation to the student's own - and, above all, those aspects of both which are relevant, and of interest to adolescents today.