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After the Victorians: The Decline of Britain in the World
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After the Victorians: The Decline of Britain in the World

3.87  ·  Rating Details ·  151 Ratings  ·  29 Reviews
The distinguished historian A.N. Wilson has charted, in vivid detail, Britain's rise to world dominance, a tale of how one small island nation came to be the mightiest, richest country on earth, reigning over much of the globe. Now in his much anticipated sequel to the classic The Victorians, he describes how in little more than a generation Britain's power and influence i ...more
Paperback, 624 pages
Published September 19th 2006 by Picador (first published 2005)
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May 24, 2016 Diane rated it really liked it
This book looks at the history of Britain from the turn of the 20th century until the 1950s through the eyes of famous people who lived through this period. The book is well-written, and well-researched, and covers periods of time not usually looked at in the same publication. However, the author never makes a persuasive case as to why he has covered this period. He says in the subtitle that he will be looking at Britain's decline and loss of empire, but this story doesn't seem integral to the b ...more
Lynne Stringer
This book was generally pretty good, although not as compelling as some other history books I've read. It was still interesting enough, though.
Christopher Sutch
Aug 27, 2012 Christopher Sutch rated it really liked it
I found this sequel to _The Victorians_ not quite as good as its predecessor. This is perhaps because I'm bothered by Wilson's political stance and willingness to overlook established facts (or to get them wrong) in the greater service of his allegiance to a constitutional monarchy as the best form of government. The areas where this is most clear for me (because I am a specialist in these areas of history) is Wilson's acceptance of Younghusband's figures for the number of Tibetans massacred by ...more
Feb 22, 2010 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After the Victorians is a wonderfully entertaining book. Wilson is an excellent writer and is able to bring to life the myriad figures and dramatic events of British history in the first part of the 21st century.

That being said the book does have it's flaws. It's fairly unforgivable that Wilson refers to President Harry Truman as lawyer, when in fact he was the only 20th century President NOT to earn a college degree. Missing this detail could be seen as a minor mistake, but it belies the genera
Oct 22, 2015 Tripp rated it it was amazing
I generally dislike discursive writing, but that is because it is so hard to pull off. Sliding from this topic to that usually leads to flab, unclear argumentation and getting lost in sidebars. But when it works! Wilson wonderfully blends high and low culture, politics and economics into a narrative of Britain's decline from the death of Victoria to the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. Not many authors could use the Laurel and Hardy films as a mirror of the Anglo-American Special Relationship n ...more
Oct 06, 2011 Leigh rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2006
An extremely interesting book - history as anecdote, told personally and with opinions. I know enough about British history to know when I was reading opinion, which was gratifying. Wilson's first rate mind and wide range of knowledge is apparent, but not over-bearing. Reading his take on English history in the 20th century was very much like listening to a professor emeritus hold forth over a long, boozy dinner. I found his views on the atrocities committed by the Allies during WW2 interesting. ...more
Apr 18, 2012 Sarah rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011
Extremely biased, but an interesting and informative read. Few books on English history during this period would include a chapter on the birth of the Times crossword puzzle. An example of his bias: I found his accusations of homosexuality distasteful. I understand many in that period did cover up their sexual preference, but to accuse someone of being gay with no evidence and then go on to decribe the long, happy, faithful and consumate marriage he had with his wife is extremely strange. It get ...more
Aug 19, 2011 Gobasso rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
Perhaps this book should be titled "The Last of the Victorians" since it ends with Winston Churchill. Describing the downfall of the British Empire through the two World Wars and the Great Depression this book shows how history and culture in the fading empire interacted. Much was muddled and America has inherited many of the fudges of diplomacy and border making that troubles today's world. However, most of the time the leaders were trying to do the right thing even if it ran against England's ...more
Dec 13, 2015 Maxine rated it really liked it
Oddly organized, opinionated--and yet such a compelling read for anyone interested in modern-day Britain. Wilson wears his politics on his sleeve in this book, which was illuminating if sometimes confusing for this American reader. He also tends to the sin/virtue of long, run-on sentences and tangents. Yet this is the definitive book to get an overview (if a gossipy, rambling one) of Britain's long downfall.
Guy Cranswick
Oct 20, 2015 Guy Cranswick rated it really liked it
The decline of Britain and loss of empire is a well covered topic - in Britain at least. This outing might have a desultory or depressive air, but again Wilson brings an acute perception to a range of political and social issues and opens up new ways to interpret the record. The social dynamic is particularly well done and should make the book more available to readers who could be uninterested in major political or strategic histories.
Oct 28, 2015 Kate rated it really liked it
Interesting take on the end of the British empire. Sadly, the parallels between the USA empire and the British are there to be seen. Especially when you think in terms of culture such as art, music, literature etc which under the influence of both the media and social media have dropped to an all time low in the West. I didn't agree with a lot that was said about the British but agree that they frankly got 'too big for their britches' and felt they could do
not wrong.
Michael Heath-Caldwell
May 09, 2015 Michael Heath-Caldwell rated it really liked it
Shelves: britain, history
Very good comprehensive book on Britain and the Empire from 1900 to 1952. Above title says 'Decline of Britain in the World' which I did not see on the book? Empire had to make a run for it before the Loony Left could get their hands on it. Rather a warts and all type history which is quite interesting.
Feb 28, 2012 Grania rated it really liked it
Shelves: loved-it
AN Wilson makes me feel I didn't waste my adolescence reading the complete Henry James, Thomas Hardy and DH Lawrence, as here I was able to nod sagely and chortle wisely I DO know what you mean. After the Victorians made me feel my A levels worthwhile, with accessible writing and Social and literary history given as much time as political history.
Jan 21, 2009 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pleasing to read, despite an irritating handful of instances where Wilson reads history by means of the contemporary situation. A nice, accessible introduction to Britain from 1900 to the early 1950s.
Anne Marie
Aug 12, 2009 Anne Marie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really interesting social history, some dodgy remarks on Ireland, (Partition did not come as a result of the Civil War it was demanded by the British during the Treaty negotiations!!), and at times a bit smug but very readable history.
Gareth Evans
Not anywhere as good as his stunning Victorians and rather put in the shade by the more detailed histories of the period. Nevertheless always entertaining.
Feb 07, 2010 Tara rated it really liked it
Shelves: british-history
Dear A.N. Wilson,

I don't agree with even half of what you say, but I am nuts about the way you write history and biography. I am sort of in love with you. Thank you.

Oct 30, 2014 George rated it it was amazing
Most enjoyable. Well written, clear, concise, rich prose explaining a wonderful era populated by larger than life people.
Mar 28, 2010 Maureen rated it liked it
Very entertaining, apart from the times he takes a rather cavalier attitude to the facts and lets his own personal bias hold sway.
Joyce Halim
Jul 03, 2015 Joyce Halim rated it it was amazing
Really enjoyed his prose and unbiased opinions and the scope of the book: it is a jumble of interesting anecdotes and encompasses political, economical, social and literary history. A great read.
Apr 12, 2011 Cyndie rated it liked it
This book is so full of opinions that I doubted much of the author's analysis. Still, I found it informative and interesting.
May 17, 2011 David rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I gave up reading this. Very witty writing, but after the apologia for Oswald Mosley and Edward VIII I had little faith in the author's POV being sufficeint separable from the historical narrative.
Anne Harlan
Anne Harlan rated it liked it
Mar 01, 2014
Jul 03, 2008 Lisa rated it really liked it
Really interesting.
Helen R
Helen R rated it liked it
Nov 27, 2009
Alex Tanasa
Alex Tanasa rated it really liked it
Jun 09, 2014
Peter D. McLoughlin
Peter D. McLoughlin rated it really liked it
Apr 20, 2008
Peter Winterble
Peter Winterble rated it really liked it
Feb 26, 2016
David Egan
David Egan rated it liked it
May 09, 2012
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Andrew Norman Wilson is an English writer and newspaper columnist, known for his critical biographies, novels, works of popular history and religious views. He is an occasional columnist for the Daily Mail and former columnist for the London Evening Standard, and has been an occasional contributor to the Times Literary Supplement, New Statesman, The Spectator and The Observer.
More about A.N. Wilson...

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