The Pride and the Fall: The Dream and Illusion of Britain as a Great Nation

In This Review

The Pride and the Fall: The Dream and Illusion of Britain as a Great Nation

By Correlli Barnett
Free Press, 1987
359 pp. $24.95
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A devastating but well-documented assessment of Britain's industrial performance during World War II, which in most particulars was well below that of Germany. Barnett, British author of several studies on the war, contrasts wartime hopes for a New Jerusalem in postwar Britain with the reality of declining power and competitiveness. The faults were not industry's alone, but the result inter alia of the British class system, class education, and longtime neglect of technical and even scientific education. The flawed relations between sullen workers and uncomprehending manager-owners is also considered, and an audit of performance is demanded in place of laments about the degraded condition of the working class. The discrepancy between political ambition and economic power is a central theme-and one that raises disturbing questions for the imperial power that supplanted Britain.

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