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Mind the Gap: The New Class Divide in Britain
 
 

Mind the Gap: The New Class Divide in Britain [Kindle Edition]

Ferdinand Mount
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Review

"A rollicking account of the class divide in 21st-century Britain" Simon Jenkins, Sunday Times "an excellent book that breaks with tradition... with refreshing humanity" The Spectator "A book which offers the first real breath of fresh air in Conservative thinking since the Thatcher revolutionaries imposed their own intellectual orthodoxy" Polly Toynbee "A brilliant book which analyses the ways the working class has been consistently denigrated and disempowered." London Review of Books " A splendid book: sparky, persuasive and brave". Evening Standard "Beautifully written, deftly argued - and true" Matthew Paris

Product Description

Through acute observation and vivid illustration - drawing on every aspect of life from soap operas, speech patterns and gardening to education and the distribution of wealth - he demolishes the illusion that we live in a classless society and shows how the worst-off in Britain today are more culturally deprived than their parents or grandparents. The author's solutions, like his explanations of what has gone wrong, are original, surprising and unsparing to intellectuals and politicians of all parties.


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 571 KB
  • Publisher: Short Books; 3rd Revised edition edition (15 Feb 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007BEJLZI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #175,700 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mind the Chap 5 Mar 2012
By Robert
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This isn't a bad book. At times it's quite interesting, and given the author's pedigree, age and Conservative party background, one suspects that the great political thinker of our time "Just Call Me Dave" studied this book relentlessly when forming his social policies. Knowing that the first edition is 2004, it's uncanny how many of the off-the-cuff ideas Mount proposes have found their way into current Conservative policy. Too many to name. However, the annoying thing with "Mind The Gap" is that it is not really about the "The New Class Divide in Britain" as the sub-title suggests. It is pitched as a comparison of class in modern Britain, but in fact is survey of various writings or speeches on class in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. Mount is not disingenuous, he states his aims and the limits of his experience at the outset, but as he remarks, the book is an essay, and as with any good school essay, there are plenty of long and worthy quotations from more learned fellows. Indeed, one almost suspects that this work has been designed and shaped by publisher to put another book on class out there. The book relies heavily on notions of class gained from 19th century literature, and seems oblivious to the fact that there is a mountain of solid academic research on class and society where class specimens have been met and interviewed. It is somewhat ironic that one of Mount's principal gripes is that the political system devises and implements schemes to better the lower class, without ever asking them what they want. Yet in his very own inquiry, he does the very same thing: plenty of reading and theorising on class, but no actual discussions with the blessed riff-raff (at least none documented). Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The class divide in Britain 20 Feb 2013
By Brian R. Martin TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
In this book on the class structure in Britain, Ferdinand Mount starts with an historical analysis of the different interpretations of what is meant by `class', taking his examples largely from the history of the past 200 years. This includes such things as the roles of education, social convention, earnings and personal expectations. The meat of the book is his assertion that the worst-off in Britain today are more culturally deprived than their parents or grandparents. The evidence he cites for this includes the destruction of institutions created and used by working people, such as Literary Institutes with libraries, Friendly Societies for health provision, and non conformist chapels and churches. This has mainly been due to the actions of the middle class, which has assumed that `they know best'. This attitude is now endemic, with television channels condescendingly showing mainly an endless diet of mindless trashy soaps, panel games, and celebrity chat shows. Politicians, dominantly middle class, have also played an important role in establishing state education and health provision, but the noble ideals behind these have not been fully realized, leading to much frustration. Despite this, Parliament still enacts legislation that intrudes further into our lives, removing the need for self-help, without correcting, or often even admitting, mistakes of the past. As a consequence, there is a lessening of taking responsibility for oneself and one's family, and an increased expectation that `others will take care of things'. The result is a growing gap, cultural, educational and economic, between the `Uppers' and the `Downers', as Mount calls them, and increasing despair amongst the latter. It is a depressing picture. Read more ›
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great resource 3 July 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Really useful data and cause for much careful thought
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What only Wells was genius enough to predict was how these devices and all the other modern conveniences would tend to hollow out the business of life, to slacken the muscles that the struggle for survival had kept in trim and so to induce an &quote;
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That is no longer the case. By a remarkable shift in public discourse, the middle classes have come to regard most of these virtues as characteristic of their own behaviour, indeed as largely confined to themselves. For the ultimate deprivation that the English working class has suffered — in fact the consequence of all the other deprivations — is the deprivation of respect. &quote;
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