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The Making of Modern Britain

3.97 of 5 stars 3.97  ·  rating details  ·  695 ratings  ·  68 reviews
In The Making of Modern Britain, Andrew Marr paints a fascinating portrait of life in Britain during the first half of the twentieth century as the country recovered from the grand wreckage of the British Empire. Between the death of Queen Victoria and the end of the Second World War, the nation was shaken by war and peace. The two wars were the worst we had ever known and ...more
Hardcover, 452 pages
Published October 1st 2009 by Pan Macmillan (first published May 17th 2007)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,520)
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David
The Edwardian stuff is most interesting, followed by the 20s and 30s. Did you know that William IV wanted Victoria to be crowned Queen Elizabeth II? Apparently, "the Edwardians had richer internal lives than most of us today", which seems an odd thing for an historian to say. And "Edwardian artists drew far better than artists are able to now". Really?

Churchill is just everywhere...almost on every page. Is this right?

I didn’t know that “When Hitler finally killed himself in his bunker, the Dubl
...more
Scott
Andrew Marr's The Making Of Modern Britain

Insightful, awakening view of a pivotal time in British history. Rather than mundane facts and figures, Andrew Marr brings these turbulent times to life in a brilliant read. A must- read for anyone who has even the slightest of an interest in British History. The era of the 20's and 30's is particularly colourful in the book, with an excellent conclusion. Excellent read.
Caroline
A wonderfully gripping read - in fact it got better and better the more I read, and towards the end I was galloping along, hooked in with fascination and pleasure.

My understanding of this period was fairly patchy, and I loved the way the book brought everything together for me. Marr is a wonderful writer, and the people he writes about just light up under his pen. Occasionally I would need a bit more elaboration than was given in the book, but this was easily remedied with Wikipedia. The contras
...more
Nuno Vargas
My motivation to read this was high: I live in the UK but don't know much about its history. Being a two-volume set which accompanies a BBC series (which I have not watched but plan to), this first book explores the events that take place roughly in the first half of the 20th century, and the changes that Britain went through because of them. I wasn't familiar with the author, who is in fact a well known political commentator. It shouldn't then surprise that politics occupies a fair amount of th ...more
Erik
Nothing’s sweeter than a great work of historical scholarship about a country that you’re currently visiting. I picked up Marr’s book in the UK – just released in trade paperback – just a few short weeks ago as I finished the book I took with me when I left the US. Upon the recommendation by a London couple who I met over breakfast at my B&B in Conwy, I hit up the closest Waterstone’s store in the Bloomsbury’s neighborhood where I was staying once I got to London, and decided upon Marr’s boo ...more
Caroline
I really enjoyed this book, more than I expected to. Marr is an excellent writer, very engaging and readable without being condescending, which isn't always the easiest balance to achieve in writing history.

This isn't a comprehensive history of the fifty-odd years between the death of Queen Victoria and the end of the Second World War, nor does it pretend to be. It's more a case of charting just how much Britain changed in such a short span, less than one lifetime, and how much of that change an
...more
Steve
From the death of queen Victoria and the Edwardian age of toffs to Victory in Europe day and the profoundly changed Britain, Andrew Marr charts the politics and some of the trends that defined the age and set the country on the road it is today.

Andrew Marr is a (maybe slightly biased) journalist, not a historian, and unlike his book of the later period, I imagine finding the historical facts was much more difficult (after all, everything after 1945 was on TV!). There is a lot in this book, some
...more
Sarah
The only thing I could fault this on the whole very entertaining and readable history of modern Britain on was that at times it read more as a biography of Churchill than what it actually was. One cannot deny that Churchill did indeed have a massive role in the period, but some of the lesser important periods of his life were covered in such detail that I wondered if nothing else could have been going on the same time that would have made for a widened study.
Šomin Novotný
Skvela a zajimava kniha. Spoustu z tech veci jsem o Britanii vubec nevedel. Treba politika appeasementu, jake mela koreny, ze si to Chamberlein jen tak nevycucal z prstu... Doporucuju.
Ipswichblade
Another excellent book from Andrew Marr. As good as A History of Modern Britain. Well written and very informative. As good as the TV programme but without Andrew doing his accents!!
Andrew
This was a thoroughly fascinating look at the UK particularly England especially the role of the Edwardians. I was living in Waterloo in Sydney at the time and nights out usually involved walking home from the city. The advice by Andrew Marr to look up at the shop front he intended for the urban British audience rings true for urban Australian audiences equally. Without a greater study of the differences between the blends of styles it is pretty easy to see by this small challenge issued by the ...more
Andrew Fish
These days it seems you can't move for documentary series fronted by personalities. From Paxman's excoriating of the British Empire to Ian Hislop's documentary series on the Victorians it seems that everyone wants to show that they understand our past and to put their stamp on it. On the surface, Andrew Marr seems little different, but as he tells us in the introduction to this book, far from simply fronting the efforts of BBC researchers, he does his own research, makes his own mistakes and onl ...more
Holly
I read this to learn more about Britain and it's more immediate history, but I was amazed and impressed to learn more about the history of the rise of America. I knew some facts and figures, but Andrew Marr pulled together all aspects of popular culture, daily lives of Brits in all regions with the politics of the day.

The most fascinating aspects were the 10s, 20s and 30s - life in rural britain prior to radio and both world wars was unlike anything I had imagined and not something normally por
...more
Jerry Hilts
The Making of Modern Britain is a quite enjoyable read covering the years between the death of Victoria and the end of World War II. Marr keeps the tone light and fun, providing plenty of details without letting things get too dry and academic.
Jim
I began this book enthusiastically as it is a period of time I am aware of - Britain between the Wars - but knew virtually nothing about. I'd enjoyed the learning experience of "When the Lights Went Out", and I was keen for more. But Andrew Marr is, frankly, an uninspiring historian. The book became a plodding chronology of "This happened" followed by "That happened", and focused on "The Big Men" of the time, Churchill, Lloyd George and so on. I felt high among the credits should have been Googl ...more
Christine Bowen
Particularly enjoyed the descriptions of Edwardian life as I knew least about this period. The World Wars descriptions also gave me lots of new info as I don't read much non - fiction. Loved the writing style. Andrew Marr has a clear "voice" that you can hear through the writing. Will try more.
Martin Haynes
Contains an interesting review of the political landscape of Britain in the 1930s, I was well aware of Mosley's blackshirts but had never heard of the green shirts or the Social Dividend movement. Also, an interesting overview of David Lloyd George's role in the development of the modern political landscape is there and if you think that our politicians are dodgy, well, it's nothing new. For anyone interested in how we got where we are, I recommend this book.
Marios Antoniou
Overall a well-written and engaging book, shedding light on the everyday life of British people between 1900 and 1945, some parts are a bit gossipy and deal with points and focus on individuals of little consequence I found irrelevant but on the whole it provides a clear insight of British politics and the shaping of Modern Britain
Godzilla
This took me an eternity to read, but it's not because it was dull: there's just a lot packed into it.

I have to hold my hands up and confess that modern history was never my forte - and we never covered it at school.

This book took a lot of interesting snippets and mixed them up into a lively brew of setting into a social context and shattering some widely held (and clearly misconstrued) beliefs.

My one gripe about the book is that it provides a rivetting and compelling expose of some ideas and pe
...more
Mary
Absolutely brilliant with a thoroughly engaging style. Considering how much politics was discussed it was essy to understand and amazingly enjoyable. Loved the bite sized chapters and the new focus of how these years affected how we are now. Can't wait to read the next one.
Jane Mcneil
What can I say, this book was simply amazing. I'm not one to praise any book by a respectable author but this one is in deserving of it. Andrew Marr has a fluent writing style which I only have good things to say about. His witty personal comments throughout the book also gives a hint of his passion and his opinion on the subject.

If you are looking to read a good history book for enjoyment or for study at A-Level/Higher/Advance Higher then it provides a more than sufficient insight in to the wor
...more
Mark
An interesting book on how the culture of Politics & two world wars shaped the Britain we know today and how avoided a full on Fascist or communist Rebellion that swept Europe in the 1930's I had no Idea how much Churchill influenced things directly or indirectly but you cannot help but see his mark on our present day world.
Huw Evans
Andrew Marr is a fine, lucid, honest and perspicacious journalist. He also writes a superb political history to try and explain how the British arrived at the present day, based on the events of the last one hunded years. Even though his views appear slightly right of centre (I may be misjudging him) he is scathing of all sides of the political debate, especially where inappropriate and wrongheaded decisions are made. It is easy to apply the retrspectoscope accurately but the number of times tha ...more
Christie
I enjoyed it. I don't normally read non-fiction books anymore, if I'm being honest, preferring to get most of my information from online, so this was a bit of a change of scene for me. The author presented his information in a conversational (if you are having a conversation with a librarian) style and it was a little more accessible than the average history tome. He gives a bit of a different spin on historical events that have already captured the public imagination, but fall prey to assumptio ...more
Michael Moseley
So lovely insight into what is now history but it is difficult to accept as this was in my grandfather’s life time. How the world has changed we could not fight a war in the same blind faith way we did the 1st and 2nd world war. It has made me want to look at other history. Produce a list of PMs since 1900. Some lovely quotes “You should try everything once with the exception of insect and folk dancing”. “If you do not know what to do write a book” The Mitford sisters the extremes of left and ri ...more
Alex Venditti
A good introduction to the history of Britain between 1900 and 1945 that focuses mainly on the 2 world wars and the effect they had politically and socially.

This book is less an clearly structured narrative and more the parts of early 20th century history that the author thinks are interesting, that being said I thought it was thoroughly informative and entertaining.
Converse
I enjoyed listening to this history of Britain in the first four decades of the twentieth century, up to the end of the Second World War. As I recall, it focuses mainly on the many notable political and economic events of the period, such as the Boer War in South Africa, the First World War, the Great Strike of 1926, the Depression, and the Second World War. The end of the Liberal Party as one of the major British political parties, and the rise of the Labor Party, is also covered.
Emma
This is a very easy to read history of how Britain and the British have ended up where they are. It is not in depth or especially detailed but it is a great overview and a good jumping off point for finding areas that might interest you and then want to look into more. The writing style is easy to read, clear and concise and, for those familiar with Andrew Marr as a TV presenter (and who may have seen the show of the same name) matches his on screen style. Well worth a read.
Mark Fishpool
Whilst at times the politics got a bit on the heavy side, overall I found this an interesting and informative read. Generally the style is easy to understand although occasionally the thematic approach (rather than strict chronological order of events) means you are jumping around the years. I think this works well though generally. Of course, given the amount of time this book covers, the subjects are only discussed at a fairly high level for the most part.
Katherine Fox
Some very enjoyable stories about individual people who were important, learnt a lot about this period and why it matters. But it didn't really hang together as a book. Not sure if it is the ebook edition, but I found the structure and headings difficult to follow and wasn't quite sure where I was. It seemed to dot around between short, enjoyable chunks but without being able to see easily what, if anything, linked them.
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