Cannadine, David, Class in Britain (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998)

Publisher's synopsis:

The British are famously obsessed with class, whether they see their country as a huge (and perhaps harmonious) hierarchy, as a society deeply divided into upper, middle and lower, or as the setting for a constant struggle between 'them' and 'us'. Class distinctions reflect reality - life on a council estate is very different from life in a stately home - but they are also constantly used by politicians to forge new notions of national identity, to demonize opponents, and to distribute praise or blame. Are they at all helpful in explaining broader historical trends? In this sweeping survey of British life from the era of Dr Johnson to Thatcher, Major and Blair (and their contrasting ideals of a 'classless society'), David Cannadine skilfully cuts through the rhetoric to the fundamental truths about class in Britain - truths which may change the way we think about our society and ourselves.

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