BRITAIN IN THE CENTURY OF TOTAL WAR by Arthur Marwick

BRITAIN IN THE CENTURY OF TOTAL WAR

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The old order changeth, spurred by war. Marwick views ""the mechanics of change in terms of military participation, psychological responses, profit-loss, and challenge to British institutions."" His approach represents a mere flirtation between sociology and history, for his sociologizing is too intuitive to provide adequate analyses of the interests and make up of the classes and parties in question. So what could have been an exciting study ends up a middleweight narrative whose smooth style and solid bibliography cement a shaky foundation of particular data and vague concepts. His central discussion of the struggle for the welfare state and its ""continuing inadequacy"" bypasses the more fundamental question of relative distributions of wealth and income. Other themes: increasing formal democracy, policy response to economic malfunctioning, and of course, civilian experience of the wars themselves. Other critical developments--the loss of Empire, the Character of the Labour Party, the financial crisis of the '60's and their social impact--are never satisfactorily elucidated, a lack for which the rather puerile sections on culture and mores do not compensate.

Pub Date: June 18th, 1968
Publisher: Little, Brown--A.M.P.