To live in 19th-century Britain was to experience an astonishing series of changes: revolutions in transportation, communication, science, and labor were accompanied by a growing religious skepticism that left the intellectual landscape almost unrecognizable. Other countries experiencing such changes were racked by political and social unrest, but Britain remained stable, and quickly found itself in a position of global leadership. In his exploration of Victorian Britain—the largest empire in history and an economic juggernaut—David Cannadine assesses how so much was accomplished by a society that proclaimed its moral superiority even as it was permeated with doubt, fear, and self-criticism.
"This is stupendous. The British 19th century, in all its complexity, all its horror, all its energy, all its hopes is laid bare. This is the definitive history, and will remain so for generations."—A.N. Wilson