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General Reading and Sources

Key preparatory reading/ overviews of the period:

James Vernon, Modern Britain, 1750 to the Present Day (Cambridge, 2017)

Satnam Virdee, Racism, Class and the Racialized Outsider (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014)

Sheila Rowbotham, A Century of Women: The History of Women in Britain and the United States (Viking, 1997)

For a good general account covering the whole of the period (available in paperback): Peter Clarke, Hope and Glory: Britain 1900-1990 (1996). On national identity in modern Britain: Richard Weight, Patriots: National Identity in Britain 1940-2000 (2002); and Paul Ward, Britishness since 1870 (2004). For insight on the Britain at the start of our period: Jose Harris, Private Lives, Public Spirit: A Social History of Britain, 1870-1914 (1993). For a useful collection of introductory thematic essays: P. Johnson (ed.), Twentieth Century Britain: Economic, Social and Cultural Change (1994).

A number of books with a particular interest in the issue of national identity will prove useful across much of the course: R. Samuel, Patriotism: The Making and Unmaking of British National Identity 3 volumes (1989); R. Colls & P. Dodd (eds.), Englishness (1987); R. Samuel, Theatres of Memory; R. Samuel, Island Stories (1998); A. Grant & K. Stringer (eds.), Uniting the Kingdom? The Making of British History (1995); M. Wiener, English Culture and the Decline of the Industrial Spirit, 1850-1980 (1981); P. Mandler, The English National Character: The History of an Idea from Edmund Burke to Tony Blair (2006). Less directly attentive to national identity but still very useful for an understanding of the nation and its divisions in the first half of the century: R. McKibbin, Classes and Cultures: England, 1918-1951 (1998).
Useful survey essays of key themes can be found in: F.M.L. Thompson (ed.), The Cambridge Social History of Britain, 1750-1950, 3 volumes; Judith Brown & W.R. Louis (eds.), The Oxford History of the British Empire Volume iv: The Twentieth Century (1999); M. Daunton, The Cambridge Urban History of Britain Volume iii, 1840-1950 (2000).

Useful information and statistics can be found in reference books such as: B.R. Mitchell & P.M. Deane, Abstract of British Historical Statistics (1962); A.H. Halsey (ed.), British Social Trends since 1900; D. Butler & G. Butler, British Political Facts, 1900-1994 (1994).

For the latest articles on the subject, look at recent issues of journals such as 20th Century British History; the Journal of British Studies, and Contemporary British History.

For a comprehensive list of essays, articles and books on any topic in modern British history, search via the electronic Bibliography of British and Irish History (available as electronic database on the Library website):

The library holds several searchable electronic databases of primary sources that will prove helpful, including copies of The Times and of all published government reports for the period. The Modern Records Centre, which is attached to the library, is one of the main archives in the country for the history of twentieth-century Britain. It holds original material that could provide the basis for important original research relating to the module and welcomes student researchers. The MRC catalogue is readily searchable online. The MRC website has a special page devoted to sources that may be helpful for this module, and you will also find useful material on its pages on related modules.