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Britain in the Twentieth Century

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Britain in the Twentieth Century . By Ian Cawood. Spotlight History Series. (London & New York, Routledge: 2004. Pg. 368. Illustrations, Tables, Maps.) ISBN: 0415254574.

Reviewed by Rochelle Caviness - April 21, 2004

For students studying for their AS and A2 level exams in Twentieth Century British history, as well as anyone interested in contemporary British History, Ian Cawood's book Britain in the Twentieth Century is an incomparable resource. Covering British history from 1900 to the 2000, this book not only offers an in-depth overview of the period, but it also offers tips on taking the AS and A2 exams.

Britain in the Twentieth Century is part of the Spotlight History series, and it was written specifically as a study guide for the AS History exam in 20th century British history. Detailed instruction is provided on how to write an effective essay, and the different styles of essays, questions on sources, and source-based questions that students will encounter under the OCR, AQA, and Edexcel examining boards. Throughout the book, samples of each style are offered, with notations as to which board uses a particular style.

For those study for their A levels, this book will provide you will invaluable insights on what to expect during the test, and how best to craft your essays and answers to meet the specific requirements of the examiners. This text also offers an overview of the material that you should be familiar with before attempting the exam, and it provides ample sample questions and essays that you can use to test yourself. While this text does provide an extensive overview of the material covered in the exams, it is intended to supplement, not supercede, other texts on the subject.

Throughout you will find questions with worked answers, questions without answers, examples of essay plans / outlines, sample essays, maps, tables, illustrations, and tips on honing your historical skills. Also included in this book are brief biographies of important personalities, a glossary of key terms, and a bibliography of primary and secondary sources. I highly recommend this book to students, and to their teachers.

Although written for a British high school audience, I highly recommend this book to American undergraduate history students who, unfortunately, often lack experience in writing thoughtful and well-constructed essays. This book will provide them with instructions in a valuable, and necessary skill for anyone interested in the study of History. This text will also serve American undergraduates as an excellent introduction to 20th century British history!

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