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Peace and War: Britain in 1914 by Nigel Jones

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Taking us through the year that ended in all-out war, Nigel Jones plots the political mood of the country and the unsuspecting populace at work and at play as they move ever closer to disaster. ~ Sue Baker

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The Good Book Guide logo The Good Book Guide Review. According to this evocative book, in the months leading up to the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, far from peaceful, Britain was on the brink of civil war, with British Army officers threatening mutiny over Irish Home Rule, and both Unionists and Nationalists prepared for open conflict. The book captures a society on the edge and ready for change, with artists and poets pushing the bounds of the imagination, while Fabians and socialists wanted to improve the lot of the workers. While idealists like Wyndham Lewis and Ezra Pound were establishing the Vorticist movement, trade unionists were picketing and striking. When war came it would change everyone’s world.

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Peace and War: Britain in 1914 by Nigel Jones

1914 dawned with Britain at peace, albeit troubled by faultlines within and threats without: Ireland trembled on the brink of civil war; suffragette agitation was assuming an ever more violent hue; and suspicions of Germany's ambitions bred a paranoia expressed in a rash of 'invasion scare' literature. Then when shots rang out in Sarajevo on 28 June, they set in train a tumble of diplomatic dominos that led to Britain declaring war on Germany. Nigel Jones depicts every facet of a year that changed Britain for ever. From gun-running in Ulster to an attack by suffragettes on a Velasquez painting in the National Gallery; from the launch of HMHS Britannic to cricketer J.T. Hearne's 3000th first-class wicket; from the opening of London's first nightclub to the embarking for Belgium of the BEF, he traces the events of a momentous year from its benign domestic beginnings to its descent into the nightmare of European war.


'Lavishly illustrated ... Jones has a hawk's eye for fascinating historical detail'
Sunday Express

'A terrific account that makes a strong bid for inclusion in any collection'
BBC History Magazine

'Excellent ... an exceedingly valuable history of the year as well as being a damned good read ... a brilliant primer for the First World War'
The Army Review Service

About the Author

Nigel Jones is an author, a former editor at History Today and BBC history magazines, and has been a TV and radio broadcaster.

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Book Info

Publication date

4th June 2015


Nigel Jones

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Head of Zeus


272 pages


World War One Literature
Biography / Autobiography

Social & cultural history
First World War

20th century history: c 1900 to c 2000



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