Divided Kingdom: A History of Division and Inequality in Britain from 1900 to the Present
A conversation with Pat Thane (King’s College London)
How have inequalities of class and fortune, gender, race, religion and age shifted in Britain since the turn of the twentieth century? In her remarkable new book, distinguished historian Pat Thane recounts the social, political, economic and social policy history of the United Kingdom through the lens of inequality in its many forms. The result is a riveting story that opens with the arrival, ca. 1900, of inequality as a central and urgent political issue, placed on the agenda by such diverse actors as Irish nationalists, women suffragists, trade unionists and social reformers. Placing inequality at the centre of the story, Thane challenges conventional interpretations of Britain’s past based on stark contrasts, like the dull, conservative 1950s versus the liberated ‘swinging sixties’, and instead traces over time the key themes of nationalisms, the rise and fall of the welfare state, economic success and failure, imperial decline, and the UK’s relationship with Europe. Highlighting changing living standards and expectations and inequalities of class, income, wealth, race, gender, sexuality, religion and place, Divided Kingdom reveals what has (and has not) changed in the UK since 1900, and how and why this so.