The Middle Class
Lawrence James

The Middle Class

A penetrating, comprehensive and wry survey of the middle class from 1400 to the present day. It will reveal how the middle classes made modern Britain and urges them to be proud of their collective past. There are extensive accounts of their morals and manners, their ambitions, snobberies, dreams and pleasures. The notion of 'middle-class' morality is knocked on the head and there is much that is new about the addiction to consumption, attitudes to sex and perpetual desire to get on in the world.

Book Details:

  • Author: Lawrence James
  • Published Year: 2006
  • Rights Sold
    • UK: Time Warner
    • China: China Social Services Press
Lawrence James

Lawrence James

Lawrence James was a founder member of York University and then took a research degree at Merton College, Oxford. After a distinguished teaching career he became a full-time writer in 1985 and has emerged as one of the outstanding narrative historians of his generation. His books include Crimea: The War with Russia in Contemporary Photographs, The Savage Wars: British Campaigns in Africa 1870-1920, Mutiny: Mutinies in British and Commonwealth Forces 1797-1956 and Imperial Rearguard: The Last Wars of Empire.Lawrence James edited the Daily Telegraph British Empire supplement (1997) and was th...
More about Lawrence James

Book Reviews

  • "...wonderfully enjoyable history of the changing fortunes of the middle orders over the past 500 years ...a magisterial survey of the entire British class system, filled with richly detailed observation of the social differences on which it has thrived."
    Sunday Times
  • "...a hefty but pleasant read; comprehensive, engaging, sharp-eyed and fair-minded. A treasure trove for anyone who wants to know how we get from yokels to ‘Marks and Sparks plonk"
    Daily Telegraph
  • "Our editor's favourite book of the season. Unputdownable."
  • " enchanting compendium of the games the English play, and the anxieties, frictions and resentments engendered in the pursuit of status."
    Ferdinand Mount, Times Literary Supplement
  • "... a rollicking affecionate romp through the centuries of social history that promotes much thought. Unlike much academic sociology, it is also well-written and enjoyable to read."
    Vernon Bogdanor, Times Higher Educational Supplement
  • "...contains a rich kaleidiscope of wonderful material. It is one of those volumes which should be buried in a time-capsule for the benefit of future civilisations; for the benefit of today's general readers, it is written in English, as opposed to sociology-speak."
    Jonathan Sale, Financial Times
  • "..a rich cultural history..."
    Tristan Hunt, BBC History Magazine
  • " engaging and colourful panorama of life, meticulously researched and packed with detail."
    Nottingham Evening Post
  • "Those who buy this book will find something to intrigue them on every page."
    Sunday Telegraph
  • "What most impresses about this monumental book is its lucidity and its ability to wear considerable scholarship very lightly indeed."
    The Book Magazine
  • "Lawrence James is the Macaulay of the middle class, and he has written a celebration which is hugely oversue."
    The Spectator
  • "...this magesterial sweeping new history...Its strength lies not so much in its generalisations and conclusions as in its welter of colourful detail and insidious anecdote, mostly aposite."
    The Herald
  • "James is best on the Victorian middle classes, and all the baggage that came with them:their gentility, their prudishness, their strictness, their values, their standards."
    Daily Telegraph
  • "James is a well-informed guide to that past, conducting us on a tour from Chaucer to Thatcher and focussing mainly on the 19th and 20th centuries. He has a sharp eye for detail..."