The Strange Death of Liberal England

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The Strange Death of Liberal England is a book written by George Dangerfield published in 1935. In it the author discusses the causes of the decline in the influence of the British Liberal Party in the years 1910 to 1914.


Dangerfield argues that four great rebellions before the Great War effectively destroyed the Liberal Party as a party of government. These rebellions were the Conservative Party's fight against the Parliament Act 1911; the threat of civil war in Ireland by the Ulster Unionists under Sir Edward Carson with the encouragement of Conservative leader Andrew Bonar Law; the Suffragette movement under the Pankhursts; and the increasingly militant trade unions under the influence of syndicalism.

Publishing history and reception[edit]

The New York book publishers Harrison Smith and Robert Haas first printed the book, but it soon went out of print due to the publisher's bankruptcy. An edited version was published in Britain in 1936 for the first time by Constable. Because it was viewed as "popular history" and the book's time period was relatively recent, it largely escaped being reviewed by the major history journals.

Capricorn Books, an American publisher, put out a paperback in 1961 that stayed in print for most of the 1960s. This edition adds the years '1910-1914' to the original title.

The British studies journal Albion focused on the book and its author in Winter 1985 (Vol. 17, No. 4).

In 1997 it was republished by Serif and Stanford University Press, with a foreword by Peter Stansky. In 1998 the book was chosen by the editors as number eighty-two in the Modern Library List of 100 Best Nonfiction Books published in the 20th century.


Dangerfield's work has remained prominent in its field. The book has also inspired the titles of other publications, notably works of contemporary political history. As recently as April 2008, Sidney Blumenthal named his work on U.S. politics The Strange Death of Republican America.[1] Books have also been published in the 2000s with the titles The Strange Death of Tory England,[2] The Strange Death of Liberal America,[3] The Strange Demise of British Canada,[4] The Strange Death of Marxism,[5] The Strange Death of Labour Scotland and even The Strange Non-Death of Neo-Liberalism.[6] An article in The Economist in 2010 proclaimed "The strange death of social-democratic Sweden".[7]

In a speech to the London Academy of Excellence, Conservative UK Education Secretary Michael Gove mentioned The Strange Death of Liberal England as one of his favourite history books.[8]


  1. ^ Blumenthal, Sidney – The Strange Death of Republican America: Chronicles of a Collapsing Party (ISBN 978-1402757891)
  2. ^ Wheatcroft, Geoffrey – The Strange Death of Tory England (ISBN 978-0141018676)
  3. ^ Brauer, Ralph – The Strange Death of Liberal America (ISBN 978-0275990633)
  4. ^ Champion, C.P. – The Strange Demise of British Canada (ISBN 978-0773536906)
  5. ^ Gottfried, Paul Edward – The Strange Death of Marxism: The European Left in the New Millennium (ISBN 978-0826215970)
  6. ^ Crouch, ColinThe Strange Non-Death of Neo-Liberalism (ISBN 978-0745652214)
  7. ^ The Economist, Sep 16th 2010 – The strange death of social-democratic Sweden
  8. ^ (7 February 2014) Michael Gove's favourite history book BBC News Online - Magazine Monitor

External links[edit]