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Seeking a Role: The United Kingdom, 1951-1970 (The New Oxford History of England) Paperback – March 8, 2011

ISBN-13: 000-0199605130 ISBN-10: 0199605130 Edition: Reprint

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Seeking a Role: The United Kingdom, 1951-1970 (The New Oxford History of England) + Finding a Role?: The United Kingdom 1970-1990 (New Oxford History of England) + A Polite and Commercial People: England 1727-1783 (New Oxford History of England)
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Product Details

  • Series: The New Oxford History of England
  • Paperback: 688 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; Reprint edition (March 8, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199605130
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199605132
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,460,474 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Review from previous edition: "Full of surprising details and impressive insights... [a] monumentally impressive survey" --Dominic Sandbrook, The Sunday Times 5/4/2009

"Harrison has a special gift which historians prize. He can turn the grains of history into fascinating and convincing patterns" --Peter Hennessy, Times Literary Supplement

"Magnificent if demanding history... all couched in an enviable prose style... reader comes away from the text with a sense that he or she has learnt the history of a people, not just of its elite." --Neal Blewett, Australian Book Review

"The considerable strength of this book lies in its handling of social structure and institutions... Here Harrison is often at his brilliant best" --Kenneth O. Morgan, Literary Review

"He provides a huge flow of information on almost all topics...all treated in fascinating detail." --Kenneth O.Morgan, Literary Review

"Seeking a Role is not only vastly informative, but it is also a terrific read." --Peter Weiler, Twentieth Century British History

"A wonderfully readable summation of this crucial and endlessly fascinating period of Britain's recent past...a masterly account" --Matthew Grant, Political Quarterly

About the Author

Brian Harrison is Emeritus Professor of Modern British History at the University of Oxford. He has published on many aspects of British history from the 1790s to the present. His books include Drink and the Victorians (1971, second edition 1994) and The Transformation of British Politics 1860-1995 (1996). From 2000-2004 he edited the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is a remarkable achievement, but maybe too remarkable. Six hundred plus pages about twenty years of British history is perhaps too much for the general reader.
From an American point of view the central interest of recent British history is whether it's our turn next. Britain sank from world power. Will America do the same? Was the crash in power after World War Two due to trying to hang on to the Empire or to being too much Mr. Nice Guy and giving it away, due to socialism, due to excessive military expenditure, the Suez campaign, too much traditionalism, the cost of the war, American dominance, Keynesian economics, too much government planning, bad planning, laziness, welfare mentality or all of the above?
These problems are addressed, especially in Chapter 6 but there's such a lot of other stuff it gets buried. A.N. Wilson's "After the Victorians" gives his opinions in a way more biased but more readable.
The social history is fun but the material about the Beatles and Carnaby Street and Beyond the Fringe etc is easier to read elsewhere, such as Humphrey Carpenter's "Great Big Silly Grin." (Harrison seems a little confused about menstrual hygiene. Surely Virginia Woolf was not making herself tampons).
Science in general is short-changed. He tells us a great deal about academic achievements at Oxford, where he teaches history but nothing about the unique place of Faraday House, which trained Geoffrey Hounsfield who produced the first CAT scan picture in 1971. There is nothing about the education of Peter Mansfield via a secondary modern school, the army and Queen Mary College. that culminated in the first MRI picture being produced at Nottingham University. The decipherment of the genetic code is not mentioned. The only Watson in the index is the editor of Vegan News
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By Martin D. Beresford on August 31, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Absolutely outstanding!
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