Shattered Nation

Shattered Nation:Inequality and the Geography of A Failing State

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Britain is broken, but how did it become so divided?

Britain was once the leading economy in Europe; it is now the most unequal. In Shattered Nation, leading geographer and author of Inequality and the 1% shows that we are growing further and further apart. Visiting sites across the British Isles and exploring the social fissures that have emerged, Danny Dorling exposes a new geography of inequality. Middle England has been hit hard by the cost-of-living crisis, and even people doing comparatively well are struggling to stay afloat. Once affluent suburbs are now unproductive places where opportunity has been replaced by food banks. Before COVID, life expectancy had dropped as a result of poverty for the first time since the 1930s.

Fifty years ago the UK led the world in child health; today, twenty-two of the twenty-seven EU countries have better mortality rates for newborns. No other European country has such miserly unemployment benefits; university fees so high; housing so unaffordable; or a government economically so far to the right. In the spirit of the 1942 Beveridge Report, Dorling identifies the five giants of twenty-first-century poverty that need to be conquered: Hunger, Precarity, Waste, Exploitation, and Fear. He offers powerful insights into how we got here and what we must do in order to save Britain from becoming a failed state.


  • Dorling chooses facts over fiction, data over spin, reality over nostalgia in this sweeping overview of a badly fractured and weakened Britain. His carefully evidenced text documents the rapid 'Americanisation' of the British economy, the obscene rise in inequality and the savaging of Britain's much admired public services. Above all, he draws attention to the economic, political and social fissures enfeebling a nation that only forty years ago was well regulated, fairer and vibrant

    Ann Pettifor, author of The Case for the Green New Deal
  • This book shows just how complicit mainstream politicians have been in Britain's economic and moral decline, particularly when the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats launched their inexcusable 'austerity' policy in 2010. The book shows just how apt today is William Beveridge's aphorism of 1942 that 'it is a time for revolutions,not for patching

    Guy Standing, author of The Corruption of Capitalism
  • Brimming with lesser-known facts and compelling stories, Dorling's latest book affirms the growing unease many of us have been feeling as public services languish and living standards decline. Shattered Nation presents an essential but devastating picture of a country stretched to breaking point. With characteristic care, clarity, and insight, Dorling dissects Britain's geography of inequality, breaking down the crisis into a set of intertwined failings whose details will enrage and empower readers. A powerful and humane offering that shows us how the mess was made and urges us to lose no time in demanding something better.

    Arianne Shahvisi, author of Arguing for a Better World: How to Talk About the Issues That Divide Us