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The Oxford Companion to Twentieth-Century British Politics Paperback – June 2, 2005

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 764 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (June 2, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 019861036X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0198610366
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 1.6 x 6.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,128,334 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

As the title implies, this is a reference tool for students of the British political system. Covering a century of British political life, the book's 100 contributors are mostly English academics, including editor Ramsden (Univ. of London). Their 3000 entries range from the philosophical "Psephology: The Study of Elections" to the plainly political "Iron Lady," cited as "a Soviet nickname for Margaret Thatcher." Most entries run a dense paragraph or two, with the EU getting a full page, equal to the coal industry. Some, but not all, entries give references for further reading. The Companion's topics are a little idiosyncratic: the "Official" and "Provisional" branches of the IRA are included, while "The Real IRA," responsible for the Omagh bombing also absent and a threat to the peace process, is missing. The work does well with political colloquialisms that will be harder to understand with the passage of time and in documenting politicians with verbal economy. Some of the subject titles could stand editing, e.g., "Cabinet, Development Of." Still, for its comprehensiveness, this encyclopedia should prove to be a useful reference tool for academic and high school collections and for larger public collections. Robert Moore, Bristol-Myers Squibb Medical Imaging, Billerica, MA
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

This guide to British politics in our most recently completed century provides 3,000 alphabetically arranged entries. More than 100 contributors represent a broad spectrum of experts including journalists, scholars, and former cabinet secretaries.

Entries cover ideas (Fascism, Imperialism); issues (Football hooliganism, Welsh language); economics (North Sea oil and gas, Poll tax); legislation (Clean Air Act, 1956; Secret ballot); organizations (Colonial Office, Oxfam); the media (BBC World Service, Morning Post); events (Blitz, General Strike); personalities (Major, John; Orwell, George); and more. Treatment ranges from short, dictionary-style entries to longer discussions of such topics as Arts policy, Immigration, and Liberal Party. Some of the longest entries are devoted to prime ministers. The detailed "Classified Contents List" allows the reader to browse entry headings in topical categories. For instance, "Political Biographies" is sorted by political party as well as by categories such as "Scottish Nationalists," "Private Secretaries to Royal Family," and "Judges." "Election Manifestos" and "Quotations and Phrases" are interesting categories under which entry headings such as Britain Belongs to You and "Jaw-jaw is better than war-war" can be found.

Three appendixes provide tabular data, including dates of the ministries (giving the prime minister, date of formation, and party); officeholders of each ministry; and results of the general elections from 1900 to 2001 with the number of candidates of each party, the number of Members of Parliament elected, and the number of votes.

This readable source would be a worthwhile purchase for academic and larger public libraries, particularly those with substantial British collections. RBB
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Angophiles, students of British history and politics, and people who enjoy skimming reference works from cover to cover will eagerly devour this comprehensive and highly readable 714-page encyclopedia. American readers will savor the Britannic flavor of such familiar terms as "multiculturalism," "lame ducks" and "public school."

But the book's primary usefulness comes into play when you need to look up the names of poltical figures and parties, events, acts of parliament, wars, social policies, governmental bodies and just about any significant historic event in 20th Century Britain.

Although reading this book from cover to cover -- or even picking pages at random -- won't appeal to most people, the serendipitous discovery of diverse and tantalizing entries is bound to stimulate the appetite for further study.

An example is a comparison of the American and British systems of government. The term "elective dictatorship" (p. 217) is theoretically what the British government is. Under a strong prime minister, e.g., Tony Blair, it becomes one in practice. In the United States, an "imperial president" who controls both houses of Congress and is able to maintain party discipline can still only exercise a lesser degree of control.

Topics such as abortion, homosexuality, public assistance, the death penalty and health care are also covered. If you're wondering how Britain has tackled many of the issues facing Americans, this book will tell you.
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