I’ve had “The Strange Death of Liberal England”:amazon by George Dangerfield on my “to read” shelf for years, something about the title intrigued me. But the idea of actually reading an in-depth tome on british history from 1910-1914 was pretty offputting.
Well I finally cracked the book last week. What a marvel. A seriously engaging book. History, but written almost lyrically at times — it felt as if Faulkner was writing history, with moments of dry British snarkiness. The last chapter takes a complete right turn, introduces the life, early death, and poetry of Rupert Brooke, and somehow makes it a relevant metaphor for all of Britain.
Along the way you learn more than you thought you wanted to know about Asquith, the House of Lords, Parliament, the trade unions, the suffragette movement (those were some bad-ass women!), the early days of the modern Irish state, etc, etc. Not a light breezy read, but an excellent book.