We Danced All Night : A Social History of Britain Between the Wars, Paperback Book

We Danced All Night : A Social History of Britain Between the Wars Paperback

4 out of 5 (1 rating)


Bounded by the Great War on one side and by the looming shadow of the Second World War on the other, the inter-war period has characteristically been portrayed as a time of great and unrelenting depression.

In Martin Pugh's lively and thought-provoking book, however, the acclaimed historian vividly shows how the British people reacted to the privations of wartime by indulging in leisure and entertainment activities of all kinds - from dancing and cinema going to smoking, football pools and paid holidays.

He explodes the myths of a nation of unwed women, revealing that in the 1930s the institution of marriage was reaching its heyday, and points to a rise in real incomes, improvements in diet and health and the spread of cheap luxuries.

The result is an extraordinary, engaging work of history that presents us with a fresh perspective and brings out both the strangeness and the familiarity of this point in time.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Publishing
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: British & Irish history
  • ISBN: 9781844139231

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Really enjoyed Martin Pugh’s social history of Britain between the wars; it covers so much ground, but never in a dull or boring way. This book is totally engaging, with discussions on subjects as diverse as women’s suffrage, mass entertainment, motor transport, monarchy, and immigration, and all of them framed within a political context. It’s a long book – 500 pages – but I can honestly say it doesn’t feel like that, and it never drags. Pugh is a very readable historian, his work here being completely accessible to the general reader, but you never get the feeling that you’ve been short-changed or that he’s ‘dumbed-down’ the academic credibility of the work. My only real criticism is that it felt as though there was slightly more attention paid to the 1930s, as opposed to the 20s, and at times I felt I would have liked more detail on the earlier decade. An excellent read and highly recommended. <br/>© Koplowitz 2012