Juliet Gardiner. The Thirties: An Intimate History. London: Harper Press, 2010. In similar vein to her Wartime, portrays British society from a wide variety of angles using a wide variety of sources. But are the 1930s really 'Britain's forgotten decade', as the front cover has it?

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2 thoughts on “Acquisitions

  1. Funny you should ask about 'forgotten', because I had the same reaction when I saw the book in the shop. I think it's a bit of a stretch to call it forgotten, but in contrast to say the Edwardian period, the two wars defining their decades, the 'excitement' of the 'roaring twenties' (an American term, I suppose, but the 'chirpy twenties' never caught on...) it's probably the least well known and least considered in social (rather than military history) terms. (The fifties onwards could have the same arguments applied - and one could argue the 1950s are as overlooked as the 1930s) "Britain's least considered decade" doesn't have quite the same ring to it, so unleash the marketing copywriter and damn the torpedoes.

  2. Post author

    Yes, there's probably a bit less attention paid to the social and cultural history of the 1930s than to the military and political history, at least in terms of popular history. Or at least the popular history that makes it out to Australian bookshops: the former categories seem to consist of kings and debs, mostly. (A recent exception is Overy's The Morbid Age.) But I would have thought the 1920s were a better candidate for a forgotten decade than the 1930s in Britain. Jarrow, Mrs Simpson and the Lambeth Walk are more evocative than ... well, I'm struggling to come up with similar cultural markers from the 1920s. Crosswords, Agatha Christie and the BBC, maybe. Which are probably less evocative because they've had a much more enduring effect on Britain, so I've probably disproved my point!

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