What’s it all about?:
A classic social history by two distinguished writers who lived through the time. “The long week-end” is the authors’ evocative phrase for the period in Great Britain’s social history between the twin devastations of the Great War and World War II. From a postwar period of prosperity and frivolity through the ever-darkening decade of the thirties, The Long Week-End deftly and movingly preserves the details and captures the spirit of the time.
What did I think?:
I read this book as part of a British Empire challenge hosted by one of my groups on GoodReads, eager to learn a little more about the history of the time between the two World Wars. The authors note that the “Long Weekend” kicked off with the Armistice and ended with a telegram from Hitler, however it focuses on that time in-between where so much of note happened to change the world yet is generally ignored, being sandwiched between the atrocities that happened in two World Wars. We have the famed Roaring Twenties followed by the Threadbare Thirties due to the Depression, yet we also have huge events such as the first women in Parliament and the first flights across the Atlantic. With chapter headings like The Days of the Loch Ness Monster, Education and Ethics, Amusements, Pacifism, Nudism, Hiking and Three Kings in One Year, the authors cover a lot of ground with interesting and relevant information and facts to keep the reader turning the page.
Personally, I thought this book was jam-packed with intriguing bits of trivia that made me feel like I had learned a lot about the time period whilst giving me the drive to go read even more. However, I did feel that the structure was somewhat clunky in parts, and it is clear that it was written in a hurry to describe events immediately before it was published. It was interesting to read how much the world changed in this short period of time regarding new technology and media, how the politicians of whatever government was in power would stick their heads in the sand when threatened with the prospect of another war, and how the older generations were horrified at the behaviour of the youngsters of the time – hmm… perhaps like nowadays? I think we do have to remember when the book was written i.e. at the beginning of the Second World War, so some views and statements may be slightly dated by today’s standards. In general though, this was an interesting read, that although I wouldn’t read it again, I’m glad I did as I feel a better appreciation and understanding of the history of the period.
Would I recommend it?:
Star rating (out of 5):