Called an uneasy peace, the twenty years between the wars were a time of turmoil - Britain saw a general strike and the worst economic crisis in its history, armed rebellion in Ireland and open revolt in India, a Prime Minister's resignation and the King's abdication.
Crisis followed crisis until Britain was engulfed in the Second World War - a catastrophe that could have been foreseen, possibly even prevented.
But there were also moments of triumph: England regained the Ashes and Britain ran to glory in the 'Chariots of Fire' Olympic Games; the BBC was born and became the envy of the free world; there was a renaissance in poetry, sculpture of genius, and cinema lightened the darkness for millions.
However it is the politicians who failed who have really come to personify the interwar years - in particular Ramsey MacDonald and Stanley Baldwin. Both prime ministers were better men than history allows. And Winston Churchill? Right or wrong, success or failure, he is the irrepressible force in what he called the 'years for the locusts to eat'.
Hattersley's assessment of this doomed era is illuminating, entertaining and bold.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 464 pages, Section: 16, b/w pix
- Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
- Publication Date: 05/02/2009
- Category: British & Irish history
- ISBN: 9780349118949