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National crisis and national government : British politics, the economy and Empire, 1926-1932 /
Philip Williamson.
imprint
Cambridge [England] ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 1992.
description
xvii, 569 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.
ISBN
0521361370
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Cambridge [England] ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 1992.
isbn
0521361370
catalogue key
2782018
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. 542-556) and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1992-11:
Williamson's dense, complex book may well be one of the most important contributions to British political history in more than a decade. Williamson (University of Durham) has focused on a period of national crisis and transformation. He takes a fresh look at the problem of three-party politics in the crucial years under review, a range of imperial issues (especially India) that became party issues, and the economic recession until the collapse of the Labour government in 1931. Thereafter Conservative, Liberal, and a few Labour leaders joined in a National government. Achieving an unprecedented political victory, this government then dealt with India, devaluation, state management of the economy, the collapse of the Liberal party, the revitalization of conservatism, and the radicalization of Labour. All these developments are examined with care and uncommon clarity in a book that has been researched with unusual depth. Graduate; faculty. R. W. Winks; Yale University
Reviews
Review Quotes
"...important exploration of British politics...an almost day-by-day analysis of high politics. Unlike some of the others, however, this revealing account never loses sight of the broader issues that underlay the maneuverings of the politicians...It is an important corrective to some of the still continuing myths about the interwar years." American Historical Review
'It is a comprehensive study which will no doubt establish Williamson's reputation as a major authority on the high politics of this tense and dramatic period ... The book is a mine of information. New material has been unearthed, often from obscure archives. From such research comes a real understanding of the actors in the drama ... a valuable and highly rewarding contribution to the analysis of a highly significant historical event.' The Durham University Journal
'It is a comprehensive study which will no doubt establish Williamson's reputation as a major authority on the high politics of this tense and dramatic period ... The book is a mine of information. New material has been unearthed, often from obscure archives. From such research comes a real understanding of the actors in the drama ... a valuable and highly rewarding contribution to the analysis of a highly significant historical event.'The Durham University Journal
‘It is a comprehensive study which will no doubt establish Williamson’s reputation as a major authority on the high politics of this tense and dramatic period … The book is a mine of information. New material has been unearthed, often from obscure archives. From such research comes a real understanding of the actors in the drama … a valuable and highly rewarding contribution to the analysis of a highly significant historical event.’The Durham University Journal
"Philip Williamson has taken many years to produce this book, and it is a triumph for those who argue that good history can only be written after a long gestation period. However, it is to be hoped that his next book will not take so long, because he is clearly a historian who can see through myths and half-truths and produce really first-class work. For that he is to be congratulated." Andrew Thorpe, Journal of Modern History
"The strength of Philip Williamson's new volume lies...in the very comprehensive and detailed treatment it provides of the political and economic crisis. This reflects the immense range of private papers he has consulted in preparing the book; and it is a tribute to his skills that the result is a remarkably readable account of a highly complex series of events." Times Literary Supplement
"Williamson's book is absolutely indispensable for anyone who wants to know what was going on in British politics in 1929-31...." Trevor Lloyd, Canadian Journal of History
"Williamson's dense, complex book may well be one of the most important contributions to British political history in more than a decade....All these developments are examined with care and uncommon clarity in a book that has been researched with unusual depth." Choice
"Williamson's revisionist account adds immeasurably to our understanding of the crucial transitional years of the second Labour government. In stressing the importance of the Liberal revival to the instability of 1930 and the reconfiguration of 1931, Williamson provides a realistic portrait of the complexities of party control and governance during a hung parliament and convincingly postdates by eight years a process of two-party polarization Maurice Cowling saw to be complete by 1924....Williamson's studies will probably become the classic accounts of the course of high politics...." Susan Pedersen, Journal of British Studies
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, November 1992
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Summaries
Description for Bookstore
This book examines the role of government, big business and economic bodies during Britain’s prolonged national crisis of 1926–32. Dr Williamson covers both policy and politics and carries out close examination of the major figures of the time including Baldwin, Churchill, Mosley and Chamberlain.
Description for Bookstore
This book examines the role of government, big business and economic bodies during Britain's prolonged national crisis of 1926-32. Dr Williamson covers both policy and politics and carries out close examination of the major figures of the time including Baldwin, Churchill, Mosley and Chamberlain.
Description for Library
This book analyses a transformation in British politics, economic policy, and imperial strategy during an international recession and a European financial panic. It focuses upon the notorious financial and political crisis of 1931, which destroyed a Labour government and led to the creation of an all-party National government. Unlike other studies of the period, Dr Williamson's book covers both policy and politics. The Treasury, the Bank of England, and Keynes, as well as the politicians are seen tackling some of the most fundamental problems of the modern British state.
Main Description
From 1926 Britain fell into a condition of deep national crisis, which seemed to threaten its domestic stability and international power. By 1932 the effort to contain these problems had transformed British politics and policy. Strains produced by three-party politics, economic recession and imperial difficulties resulted during 1931 in such a severe financial and political crisis that the Labour government collapsed and Conservative, Liberal and some Labour leaders joined together in a National government. Despite large public expenditure cuts and tax increases, and despite devaluation of sterling and a new crisis in the Indian Empire, this government obtained the greatest British election victory of modern times. This book is the first to examine all aspects of the crisis together and in depth, using an extensive range of official, institutional and personal papers.
Main Description
This book is the first to examine all aspects of the crisis together and in depth using an extensive range of official, institutional and personal papers. It demonstrates that a proper understanding of economic and imperial policies requires a sophisticated grasp of political processes. It shows how explanation of British political change must proceed by placing the power elites in their specific contexts, by exposing their beliefs, fears, objectives and strategies, and by displaying their interactions. The Treasury, the Bank of England, big business, the TUC and Keynes, as well as MacDonald, Baldwin, Lloyd George, Churchill, Mosley and Chamberlain are seen tackling some of the most fundamental problems of the modern British state.
Table of Contents
List of illustrations
Acknowledgements
Conventions and abbreviations
Introduction
Components of Crisis
The erosion of Conservative predominance
Economic and imperial troubles
Government and party troubles
'National crisis'
Crisis Avoided
The impact of India
Retrenchment and containment
Towards a two-party system
The Crisis
The financial crisis: July 1931
The political crisis: August 1931
First effects
The emergency government's crisis: September 1931
Crisis Overcome
The political reconstruction
The defeated
The national government
Conclusion
Appendix
Sources
Index
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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