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Estates: An Intimate History Paperback – 31 May 2012


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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Granta Books (31 May 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847087027
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847087027
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.7 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 29,148 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Lynsey Hanley was born in Birmingham in 1976 and moved to London to study in 1994. Her first book, Estates: an Intimate History, was published by Granta Books in January 2007. She has written an introduction to the Penguin Modern Classics edition of Richard Hoggart's 1957 book The Uses of Literacy, and is currently working on her second book.

She contributes commentary pieces, arts features and book reviews to The Guardian and the New Statesman, and has written for The Observer, the Times Literary Supplement, Prospect, RSA Journal, the Daily Telegraph, the Sunday Telegraph, and the Sunday Times. She has appeared on BBC2's Newsnight; BBC Radio 4's Start The Week, Analysis, and The World at One; BBC Radio 3's Night Waves and Sunday Feature; BBC Radio Five Live, BBC Radio London and Resonance FM.In November 2010 she wrote and presented Wall in the Mind, a series of three programmes about class and social mobility, for BBC Radio 4.

Her main areas of interest are social class; economic, social and spatial segregation; the British education system; public policy; built-up areas; mass media and popular culture. Through these themes she tries to examine how individuals interact with their physical, cultural and social environments. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Product Description

Review

"(A) passionate and engaging book... I think Hanley's book is
destined to create a watershed in British housing policy" -- Observer

"(An) engrossing story of council housing since the war... (an)
absorbing book"
-- The Times (Roy Hattersley)

"A highly engaging book" -- Book Magazine

"A rich, thought-provoking book"
-- The Observer

"An account of council housing (that is) not just readable but
interesting and moving" -- Scotland on Sunday

"Articulate, savage, poignant, engaged and vividly descriptive" -- Sunday Times

"Hanley writes with an ironic, characteristically Brummie sense of
humour and cutting sarcasm, which makes the book colourfully readable." -- New Statesman

"This study of the rise and decline of council housing is fuelled
by unusual passion and vision" -- Evening Standard

"Written with a passion born of first-hand experience, the author
takes a commendably balanced view... humble, honest and, yes, intimate" -- The List

Hanley's Estates is many things - social history, memoir, mild
polemic... honest, informed and never whimsical... well-timed and truthful
-- Telegraph (Andy Miller) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

LYNSEY HANLEY was born in Birmingham and now lives in London. She regularly writes for the Observer, Telegraph, New Statesman and many others. Estates: An Intimate History is her first book.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By catchasemouse on 25 Mar 2012
Format: Paperback
For me personally, a university student who grew up in a council estate, to read a book which was both academic and personal was refreshing. Lynsey Hanley uses her own experience growing up on an estate in Birmingham to describe the social problems that exist our estates today. More importantly she reveals our views as a nation to social housing, unveiling deeper issues of class in the UK.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I found the most interesting argument in her book was her description of `walls in the head' that culturally there are barriers between the working and underclass and the middle-classes. Myself I have experience these walls, and I found her personal account very reminiscent of my own experiences. I think this would also be an interesting read for anyone who have never been to a council estate to learn more about public housing in the UK.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Peter Street on 7 Mar 2012
Format: Paperback
This is an important book about the state we're in. If the reader is left wondering how it all happened at the end, this isn't really Lynsey Hanley's fault. Her account of the housing policies of the post-1945 period uncannily shadows the post-World War I story of high ideals and standards eroded by the everyday politics - cash, class and psephology - of the issue. And even that's not the whole story. Governments, local and national, Labour and Tory, wanted this year's flavour of New Jerusalem on the cheap, delivered yesterday, without frills or community services. In other words, with both the best and the worst intentions, they repeated the mistakes of their predecessors, private and public, in the urban growth of the previous two hundred years. The latest aspirants to urban growth - for example Inverness - are even as we speak, in public-private co-operation making the same crude planning errors we find in late eighteenth century and mid twentieth century Glasgow, to name one "mature" city among many, using the machinery worked out by Poulson and T Dan Smith and perfected by Nicholas Ridley. A top-down, undemocratic process geared to major projects with the economies of scale demanded by the building industry (which provided the solution for Neville Chamberlain, Harold Macmillan, and Richard Crossman (of whom there are telling sketches in "Estates")) was bound to throw up the likes of the Hulme Crescents, Fort Beswick, and, very differently, Hanley's own Chelmsley Wood. Like the generals who masterminded the early disasters of their wars, they were building for the problems of their yesterdays, and creating those of tomorrow.Read more ›
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By geek in heels on 7 Dec 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a foreigner living, working and studying in the UK in mostly well-to-do circles, my limited one-sided understanding of council estates before reading this book was that, the people living in there were lazy, that they rely on state benefits, watch TV all day and are leeches of the society.

This book has really opened my eyes about the circumstances people living on estates found themselves to be in, and made it clear that while individuals have responsibilities of their lives, their environment can trap them in and make it extremely hard to get out, and that pure meritocracy is a lie.

I found out about this book from a research project on the media portrayal of 'chavs' and this book provided a really good background. I recommend it to anyone doing research on Britain's underclass. I also recommend it to anyone holding prejudice against people living on estates. It's easy to fear and hold prejudices against something you don't know, and some understanding can help with that.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By R. A. Langham on 9 April 2009
Format: Paperback
A fascinating trawl through the history of social housing provision in the UK since the construction of the historic Boundary Estate in Bethnal Green in 1893. Hanley's account really comes to life in the book's pivotal chapter, "Slums in the Sky" with shocking tales of corner cutting and well meaning modernism. Erno Goldfinger - rehabilitated in some quarters in recent years - is firmly back in the Naughty Seat although a one bedroom apartment in his Trellick Tower will still set you back over £400,000.

The book is polemical and comes across as more passionate as a result. The Conservative administration of Harold Macmillan is blamed for many of the ills. The book could perhaps have done with a little more international material - "La Haine" and Chicago's Cabrini Green are mentioned and it is crying out for an index, but overall, this is essential reading. Hanley's most interesting question revolves around the stigma of council housing - why are we embarrassed to have our homes provided for by the state when there is no such outcast status associated with free education or health? That Mrs. Thatcher was a great brainwasher.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By hbw VINE VOICE on 7 Jun 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Mention council estates to many British people and they're more likely to think of dysfunctional communities than "homes fit for heroes".

During the 20th century, public housing was meant to eradicate slums, deflect revolution, improve the health of the nation and eliminate social inequality. So what went wrong - and can it be put right?

Lynsey Hanley addresses these questions in this fascinating and often passionate account of a century of policy, ideology, greed and incompetence. What gives the book its edge, though, is the intermingling of formal history with the first hand experiences of Hanley and four generations of her family.

My only criticism is that the author doesn't really look the development of council housing in rural areas and small towns; but perhaps that's another story.
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