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  • Published: 15 July 2009
  • ISBN: 9781844139231
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 528
  • RRP: $32.99

We Danced All Night

A Social History of Britain Between the Wars

So often, the period between our two World Wars is portrayed as a time of unremitting poverty, rising crime and mass employment. But what if there was another side to the story, one of dancing, cinema-going and football pools?

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.

  • Published: 15 July 2009
  • ISBN: 9781844139231
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 528
  • RRP: $32.99

About the author

Martin Pugh

Martin Pugh was Professor of British History at Newcastle University and Research Professor in History at Liverpool John Moores University. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, a member of the advisory panel of the BBC History Magazine, and the author of over twelve books on nineteenth- and twentieth-century history. He lives in Northumberland.

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Praise for We Danced All Night

Skilfully evoked, vividly captured social history


Pugh is one of the most well-respected, diligent and honest scholars working in British history today. This book deserves to be read

Gerard DeGroot, Scotland on Sunday

A beguiling and often thought-provoking book

Glasgow Herald

A fascinating and entertaining read. The detail alone is impressive


Comprehensive, vivid and highly readable ... richly textured [and] absorbing

Sunday Telegraph

A wide-ranging study of a fascinating period, We Danced All Night is also a good reference book... vividly evokes a time when tinned and processed food was really quite the thing, and the height of suburban sophistication was a new Tudorbethan house

Times Literary Supplement

A highly readable account of a foreign country where they really did do things differently.

Brandon Robshaw, Independent on Sunday

As Pugh moves from one topic to the next, one has the sense of dirty windows being cleaned, revealing remarkably new views

Daily Express

This is a provocative and entertaining thesis and he does thorough justice to it in a lively account of social life in all its aspects - from divorce and drunkenness to holiday jaunts and health

Richard Overy, Literary Review

A lively, tactile history of inter-war Britain

The Times

Lively and accessible


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