The Twilight Years by Richard Overy
The Paradox of Britain Between the Wars

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Synopsis

From a leading British historian, the story of how fear of war shaped modern England

By the end of World War I, Britain had become a laboratory for modernity. Intellectuals, politicians, scientists, and artists?among them Arnold Toynbee, Aldous Huxley, and H. G. Wells?sought a vision for a rapidly changing world. Coloring their innovative ideas and concepts, from eugenics to Freud?s unconscious, was a creeping fear that the West was staring down the end of civilization.

In their home country of Britain, many of these fears were unfounded. The country had not suffered from economic collapse, occupation, civil war, or any of the ideological conflicts of inter-war Europe. Nevertheless, the modern era?s promise of progress was overshadowed by a looming sense of decay and death that would deeply influence creative production and public argument between the wars.

In The Twilight Years, award-winning historian Richard Overy examines the paradox of this period and argues that the coming of World War II was almost welcomed by Britain?s leading thinkers, who saw it as an extraordinary test for the survival of civilization? and a way of resolving their contradictory fears and hopes about the future.
 

About Richard Overy

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Richard Overy is professor of history at King's College, London. His many acclaimed books on World War II include Why the Allies Won and The Battle of Britain.
 
Published October 29, 2009 by Penguin Books. 544 pages
Genres: History, Travel. Non-fiction

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As the fear of a new world crisis loomed, people wondered about the causes of war, peace activists tried to be heard and public sentiment fractured into “creed wars” represented by extreme factions such as Soviet communism and German National Socialism.

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The New York Times

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Even at the outbreak of World War II, Communist and fascist parties counted their combined memberships at around 40,000 — less than one percent of the population — and few of those were active.

Dec 16 2009 | Read Full Review of The Twilight Years: The Parad...

The New York Times

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An account of Britain in the 1920s and ’30s, when it saw itself as a civilization in crisis.

Dec 20 2009 | Read Full Review of The Twilight Years: The Parad...

Bookmarks Magazine

Nevertheless, the modern era?s promise of progress was overshadowed by a looming sense of decay and death that would deeply influence creative production and public argument between the wars.

In The Twilight Years, award-winning historian Richard Overy examines the paradox of this ...

Dec 14 2009 | Read Full Review of The Twilight Years: The Parad...

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