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The Edwardians

3.42 of 5 stars 3.42  ·  rating details  ·  55 ratings  ·  10 reviews
Edwardian Britain has often been described as a golden sunlit afternoon---personified by its genial and self-indulgent King. In fact, modern Britain was born during the reign of Edward VII, when politics, science, literature, and the arts were turned upside down.

In Parliament, the peers were crushed for the first time since Magna Carta. Irish nationalists and suffragettes
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Hardcover, 528 pages
Published June 1st 2005 by St. Martin's Press (first published October 1st 2004)
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Brianne Moore
Painfully dull.

This book started off all right, but it quickly slid into the trap of so many historical non-fiction: it became incredibly dry very quickly. There was little to liven it up; it lacked those interesting details that make history come alive and convince the reader that this was life as lived by real people, not just an endless recitation of facts. Some things were massively oversimplified--the chapter on women's suffrage was particularly disappointing. He's clearly a fan of Cristobe
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Iain
A very good concise biography of the so called 'lazy afternoon' following the death of Queen Victoria and the start of the First World War. What is originally thought to be a slow fallow period after the frenetic energy and expansion of the Victorian era is really a period of significant developments.

As you'd expect from a former politician Hattersley concentrates a lot on the politics of the era which at first can make the book feel very dry and tangled with political ideas. But sticking with i
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MadgeUK
The Edwardian era has often been seen as a 'golden age' but this potted history tells a more turbulent tale about a time when literature, science and politics were turned on their heads and the strait-laced Victorian era ended. Hattersley draws upon previously unpublished diaries and letters so it is a useful addition to any bookshelf dedicated to politics and British social history. Amongst other interesting trivia we learn about Mrs Alice Keppel, mistress of Edward VII, ancestress of the late ...more
Becky
A very well written, rather high-brow history of the Edwardian period. As could be expected from this author, the writing leans heavily on the political events of the period; these sections (at least half the book) are detailed and contain fascinating titbits about the major personalities. Some of the sections on the cultural life of the period do seem to be a little weaker, and there is a tendancy to bring these back around to political aspects of censorship etc, rather than focusing on artisti ...more
Lauren Albert
I found the first 2/3 of the book a bit tedious. It was all politics and much of it was newer to me than Hattersley probably expected from his readers. It was very detailed. The last 1/3 of the book dealt with the more social side of Edwardian life. The rising professionalism of sports, journalism, exploration--these were of more interest to me and I found them more readable in general. I wouldn't recommend the book to someone without a strong interest in (and knowledge of) British politics.
Dianne
I will probably not finish this, but I am enjoying it so far. Nice little tidbits of what one could call gossip. I have read quite a bit about the Boer War but Roy Hattersley is giving me a fresh insight into it, writing as he does from a British political perspective. I do find the different Prime Ministers a little confusing. As he says, popular myth has this period as one of halcyon sun-drenched days whereas it was a period of great change which set the agenda for the next half century.
Richard Thomas
A good immensely readable survey of a fascinating decade by Roy Hattersley. He adds perspective from his life as a Labour politician which perhaps differentiates his account from many of the others.
Anne
More political and less domestic than I like in a history - but what else should I expect from Hattersley? Gave me a new view of the neo-cons second favourite Brit, Churchill too
Mary
Could have been more readable, very politically focused, but that shouldn't have been a surprise really!
Leanne
This is a thoroughly researched, well written historical account. A pleasure to read.
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