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The deluge: British society and the First World War

The deluge: British society and the First World War

Marwick, Arthur, 1936-2006

This volume describes life on the home front, analyzing the social changes that made Britain of the 1920s a vastly different place from the Britain that went to war in 1914

Paperback, Book. English.
2nd ed.
Published Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006
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Statement of responsibility: Arthur Marwick
Edition statement: with a new preface by Joanna Bourke.
ISBN: 0230002455, 9780230002456
Note: This ed. originally published: Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1991.
Note: Includes bibliographical references (p. 356-367) and index.
Physical Description: xxii, p. 12-376 p., [8] p. of plates : ill., port. ; 22 cm.
Subject: Great Britain Social conditions 20th century.; World War, 1914-1918 Social aspects Great Britain.


  1. List of Illustrations
  2. Preface to Reissued Second Edition; J.Bourke
  3. Preface to Second Edition
  4. Introduction: War and Social Change in Twentieth Century Britain
  5. Preface
  6. Early Days: August 1914-March 1915
  7. Changed Men: 1915-1916
  8. New Women: 1915-1916
  9. Gentlemen in England Now Abed: 1915-1916
  10. The Challenge to Laissez-faire
  11. Seasons of Discontent: 1917-1918
  12. Science and Collectivism
  13. The End of the War
  14. After the Deluge
  15. Bibliography
  16. Index

Author note

ARTHUR MARWICK is Emeritus Professor of History at The Open University, UK. His many publications include War and Social Change in the Twentieth Century (1974), British Society Since 1945 (expanded edition 1990) and The New Nature of History (2001, also published by Palgrave Macmillan).


Almost continuously in print for 40 years, The Deluge is widely recognised as one of the classics of post-1960 British historical writing, and as the book which initiated the systematic study of the social consequences of modern war. Arthur Marwick describes life on the home front during the first total war in history, analysing the social changes that made Britain of the 1920s a vastly different place from the Britain that went to war in 1914. Comprehensive, precisely documented, full of colourful detail and apt quotations, The Deluge portrays a society in transition at every level.

This reissued second edition features a new contextualising Preface by leading historian Joanna Bourke. Bourke considers how Marwick's work engaged with contemporary debates and examines why it was so significant - and even controversial - when it was first published. Authoritative and insightful, the Preface helps to reinforce and explain the continued importance of Marwick's work and its relevance to students of History today.


Praise for the book when it first appeared in 1965:

'Mr Marwick has ingeniously discovered a new approach: away from strategy and battles to the home front. He draws efficiently on the abundant sources, from memoirs to official papers, and brings them together in a clear narrative.' - A.J.P. Taylor, Observer

'He writes well, without over-writing; the result is a piece of social history, well conceived and well executed, which deserves the rank as a permanent addition to the historical literature of the First World War.' - Max Beloff, The Listener