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A New History of Britain since 1688

Four Nations and an Empire

Susan Kingsley Kent

Publication Date - 15 February 2016

ISBN: 9780199846504

528 pages
6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

In Stock

A brilliant new synthesis of British history since 1688


For decades, scholars have been urging a "four nations" approach to British history. Susan Kingsley Kent's ambitious and timely A New History of Britain since 1688: Four Nations and an Empire finally delivers on that promise. Ranging from 1688 to the present, the book covers developments in England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, along with the British empire, providing a lively and often gripping account of the ever-changing conflicts that have characterized British history. In prose that is accessible and engaging, Kent not only includes the histories of the four "nations" of the British Isles and the vast overseas empire within a single frame, she also seamlessly interweaves the thematic concerns of her previous scholarship--gender history, environmental history, and imperial and colonial history--into the history of British politics, society, and imperial culture. The result is a brilliant synthesis.

About the Author(s)

Susan Kingsley Kent is Professor of Distinction in the Department of History at the University of Colorado, Boulder.


"In this ambitious and highly readable narrative, Susan Kingsley Kent enlivens four centuries of British life and times. Whether they are university students, scholars in the field, or aficionados of Britain's storied past, readers will be captivated by the combination of high politics and everyday experience, land and labor, nation and empire, and gender and social crisis she evokes. Equally impressive is Kent's erudition: worn lightly, but a powerful undercurrent in this engrossing account. British studies has been waiting for years for such an accessible--and teachable--history text."--Antoinette Burton, University of Illinois

"Kent's A New History of Britain since 1688 is a breath of fresh air, not only for its success in integrating Irish, Scottish, and Welsh perspectives into the traditional, Anglocentric story of Great Britain, but even more so for balancing imperial and domestic concerns and political and cultural history, and for giving gender and race their proper place. The result is a fast-moving yet substantive narrative which will help readers better understand that there is more to Britain than London and Westminster."--Patrick McDevitt, University at Buffalo

"Susan Kent's book is a stunning accomplishment. This beautifully written survey provides the most richly integrated history of England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland available. It will be the standard text on modern Britain and its empire for years to come. Kent expertly covers new questions related to environmental change along with now more familiar topics on gender, race, and class, brilliantly demonstrating how these subjects can be powerful methodological tools of analysis. Crafted with clarity and dramatic flair, A New History of Britain is a book that students and general readers will want to read."--Lydia Murdoch, Vassar College

Table of Contents

    List of Maps
    About the Author

    Introduction: The British Isles and the British Empire in 1688
    The Land and Its People
    Overseas Colonies
    A Great Chain of Being
    The Sectarian Divide
    A Place in Time: Liverpool, Second City of Empire

    Chapter 1: The Glorious Revolution and the Creation of "Britain," 1688-1707
    The Glorious Revolution
    The Revolutionary Settlement and the Financial Revolution
    The Act of Union, 1707
    A "United" Kingdom?
    A Place in Time: The Glorious Revolution in Liverpool

    Chapter 2: Consolidating the Kingdom and the Empire, 1707-1763
    The War of the Spanish Succession and the Advent of the Hanoverian Kings
    The Rising of 1715
    The South Sea Bubble
    Slavery and the Slave Trade
    The Robinocracy
    World War and Empire
    A Place in Time: Liverpool and the Jacobite Risings of 1715 and 1745

    Chapter 3: Economic and Intellectual Revolutions of the Eighteenth Century
    The Demographic and Agricultural Revolutions
    Early Industrialization
    The Commercial Revolution
    The Enlightenment: The Public Sphere
    The Enlightenment: The Domestic Sphere
    Overseas Scientific Discoveries
    A Place in Time: Liverpool's "African Trade"

    Chapter 4: Politics and Imperial Turns, 1760-1789
    Popular Politics and the Rise of the Middling Classes
    Gender, Politics, and Religious Culture
    The Revoult of the American Colonies
    The Anti-Slavery Movement
    The Gordon Riots
    Turning to India
    A Place in Time: The Zong Murders: Prelude to Abolition

    Chapter 5: Revolution, War, and Reaction, 1789-1820
    The French Revolution
    Women and Work
    Malthus and More: Discipline and Domesticity
    Rebellion in Ireland
    Sierra Leone
    Postwar Depression
    A Place in Time: Liverpool and the Wars of the French Revolution

    Chapter 6: The Age of Reform, 1820-1848
    Industrialization and Social Change
    Urbanization and Its Discontents
    Political Reform
    A Place in Time: The First Passenger Railway

    Chapter 7: "Liberal Empire," 1823-1873
    "Liberal" Empire
    The White Colonies of Settlement
    A Place in Time: The Opium Wars

    Chapter 8: Nation and Empire, Citizens and Subjects, 1848-1873
    The Celtic "Nations"
    The Racial Contours of Citizenship and "Subjecthood"
    The Reform Act of 1867
    The Women's Movement, 1850-1873
    A Place in Time: The Liverpool-Irish

    Chapter 9: New Politics, New Imperialism
    The Second Industrial Revolution
    Mass Society and Mass Politics
    New Imperialism
    A Place in Time: Liverpool Blacks

    Chapter 10: The Crises of the Fin de Siècle, 1899-1914
    The South African War
    Race Degeneration and a Revolution in Government
    Labor Disputes and the Militant Women's Suffrage Movement
    The Coming of the Great War
    A Place in Time: Militants in Liverpool

    Chapter 11: The Great War and the "Peace," 1914-1922
    The Battles
    Trench Warfare
    The War at Home
    The Easter Rebellion
    Political Reverberations
    A War of Empire
    The Peace
    Revolts Against British Rule
    A Place in Time: The Pals' Brigade

    Chapter 12: Politics and Empire in Interwar Britain, 1919-1935
    Ireland: "Flying Columns" and Black and Tans
    Strikes and the Fear of Revolution
    Race riots
    The General Strike
    Changes in the Dominions
    Women, Work, and Equal Enfranchisement
    Depression, Disillusion, and National Crisis
    Colonial Developments
    A Place in Time: Race Riots

    Chapter 13: Appeasement, World War, and the Establishment of the Welfare State, 1935-1962
    The Fascist Challenge
    An Imperial War in Europe
    The War in the Pacific
    The Home Front
    The Color Bar
    The Beveridge Report and the Postwar Welfare State
    The Impact of Reforms
    A Place in Time: The Second World War in Liverpool

    Chapter 14: The Shock of the New: Decolonization and the Creation of a New Society, 1947-1996
    The Permissive Society
    The "Troubles"
    A Place in Time: The Toxteth Riots

    Chapter 15: The Make-Up of Britain, 1997-2015
    The Britain of Tony Blair
    A Place in Time: Identities and Traditions at the Liverpool Football Club
    Devolution in Scotland and Wales
    Peace in Northern Ireland
    A Multicultural Society
    The Break-Up of Britain

    Appendix A: Monarchs of Great Britain
    Appendix B: Prime Ministers of Great Britain

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