- Paperback: 784 pages
- Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (3 May 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1408800837
- ISBN-13: 978-1408800836
- Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 5 x 19.7 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (79 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 84,869 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Family Britain, 1951-1957 (Tales of a New Jerusalem) Paperback – 3 May 2010
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More About the Author
(Photo credit: Michael Burns)
PRAISE FOR AUSTERITY BRITAIN: 'This wonderful volume is only the first in a series that will take us to 1979 and the election of Margaret Thatcher. When complete, Kynaston's skill in mixing eyewitness accounts and political analysis will surely be one of the greatest and most enduring publishing ventures for generations.' Brian Thompson, Observer 'Even readers who can remember the years Kynaston writes about will find they are continually surprised by the richness and diversity of his material ... mouth-watering' John Carey, Sunday Times 'The book is a marvel ... the level of detail is precise and fascinating' John Campbell, Sunday Telegraph 'A wonderfully illuminating picture of the way we were' Roy Hattersley, The Times
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Top Customer Reviews
It covers a wide range of domestic issues, focusing both on the poorer sections of society and those who survived the deprivations of the war from a better-off postion. The politics are carefully explained, supported by extensive quotations drawn from a wide range of sources. The author also brings into the picture vignettes of certain people who have susequently become more well-known showing where they were in their chilhood days of the 50s.
For those of us who were brought up in this period, this book provides a useful reminder of how our own lives formed part of the greater pattern of change that was unfolding. It also helps to place our own experiences into perspective. My only slight criticism is that the chapters occasionally jump from one topic to another without a clear link, but the chronlogy of the period 1951-1957 is always maintained.
A note of honesty here, I enjoy reading social history (so there is the Nerd admission up front!), particularly English social history. However, there is something extra special about this publication. Namely, while usually reading a history book I require some fiction on the go at the same time (some Stephen King let's say....just to keep the Nerd factor at an optimum....yes and I like Torchwood....), but this is unputdownable. Do not be put off by the sheer size of the book (776 pages including index), if you are looking for a narrative that will make you smile, chuckle out loud, while providing poignant moments aplenty - then get this book! David Kynaston is to be congratulated on the remarkable achievement of putting together so many different 'voices' from people. From housewives to M.P.'s, from newspaper headlines to Mass Observation findings - they all speak to you with a remarkable immediacy. Clearly this is a winner for people who remember this period of English history, but equally so for people like myself who were not even born yet. This is no mere 'sentimental' 'good old days' nostalgia. So people from a younger generation do not be put off!
Nearing the end of this book now, I am feeling decidedly tempted to get on this site and order some more books by this writer. Great stuff! .....and need I say it?
(Also what may or may not become worth noting for when the paperback/s come out: Family Britain is divided into two 'books' - 'The Certainties of Place' and 'A Thicker Cut', in the same way that Austerity Britain comprised the books 'A World to Build' and 'Smoke in the Valley.')
Beginning with the Festival of Britain and ending with Eden's resignation, the book goes through the years basically chronologically, but pauses to consider the general themes and social issues of the period looking at race, class, housing, secondary schools, religion, the place of women and of course family life among many other things.
It really is a fascinating book, breathtaking in its scope and range of sources and at all times a joy to read. It was also very satisfying how the author looked at issues in order to test our conventional wisdom of the period and - pleasingly - often shows how much more complicated the true picture is (eg the place of Christianity in Britain or the state of neighbourliness and sense of community etc.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A work of impressive, scholarly detail but extremely readable for all that. For those who have lived through these times it is hauntingly evocative and resoundingly authentic. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Barry C.
For those of us who can't remember the 1950s, and these days that's most of us, Family Britain is about as close as we'll ever get to tasting the flavour of this transitional... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Rough Diamond
Two stars. I just couldn't stand it any more. Two stars for the depth of research, two stars for attempting something unusual. No more stars. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Mr. A. Pomeroy
A superb account, with so much background information it's almost visualPublished 11 months ago by Euphemia
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