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Family Britain, 1951-1957 (Tales of a New Jerusalem) Paperback – 3 May 2010

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Product details

  • 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 (75 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 101,145 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

David Kynaston was born in Aldershot in 1951. He has been a professional historian since 1973 and has written eighteen books, including The City of London (1994-2001), a widely acclaimed four-volume history, and W.G.'s Birthday Party, an account of the Gentleman vs. the Players at Lord's in July 1898. He is the author of Austerity Britain, 1945-51, the first title in a series of books covering the history of post-war Britain (1945-1979) under the collective title 'Tales of a New Jerusalem'. He is currently a visiting professor at Kingston University.

(Photo credit: Michael Burns)

Product Description

Review

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

Book Description

Family Britain continues David Kynaston's groundbreaking series Tales of a New Jerusalem, telling as never before the story of Britain from VE Day in 1945 to the election of Margaret Thatcher in 1979.
--This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

71 of 73 people found the following review helpful By Travers Ellison on 30 Nov. 2009
Format: Hardcover
Family Britain by David Kynaston is a comprehensive study of life in Britain after the Second World War. It is very well researched and although over 700 pages long it is written in a style which makes few strenuous demands on the reader - the pages can be turned quickly and effortlessly as the narrative unfolds.

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.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Annie on 15 Feb. 2010
Format: Hardcover
I received this book as a birthday present and what a present!

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?
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
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49 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Mooch on 1 Dec. 2009
Format: Hardcover
This awesome study is the follow-up to Austerity Britain 1945-1951, and if you've read that book then you will know what to expect here. Family Britain contains the same mixture of social issues, politics, cultural developments and personal reminiscences - drawn from a wide variety of sources including Mass Observation studies and personal diaries (we continue following the lives of Nella Last, Judy Haines, Anthony Heap and the other private diarists from the first book) - with the emphasis always on how the great events and changing times affected ordinary people living ordinary lives.

(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.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Joseph Wright on 1 May 2010
Format: Hardcover
This is a superb evocation of a sadly neglected period of post war Britain.It is a welcome reminder of what was an encouraging era in many respects of social and community life despite the continuing hardship of rationing for most of the period.At 700 pages it may be a long read but the pace rarely falters. For somone born in 1947 it was a pleasure to be reminded again how we all lived then.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Mr. P. L. Spearink on 2 Jan. 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Having enjoyed Austerity Britain so very much I was prepared to be a lttle let down by this sequel. I should not have worried, if anything it is even more enjoyable as it covers the era that I can actually remember, rather than having only heard about. I particularly liked the fact that I could say to myself 'yes, I remember that little incident or fact'. It can be read as a stand alone volume but I rather suspect that most readers will have already read Austerity. So well researched and well written is it that it's 700 odd pages simply fly by. A superb book. I look forward to the next volume.
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