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Our Times Paperback – 3 Sep 2009


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Product details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Arrow (3 Sep 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099492466
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099492467
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 3.1 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 262,524 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

A.N. Wilson was born in 1950 and educated at Rugby and New College, Oxford. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, he holds a prominent position in the world of literature and journalism. He is an award-winning biographer and a celebrated novelist, winning prizes for much of his work. He lives in North London.

Product Description

Review

"A very funny, extremely opinionated, always provocative and often thoughtful read... Wilson is endlessly entertaining" (Dominic Sandbrook Observer)

"One of the most important books of recent years" (Daily Mail)

"This is an enormously enjoyable book, a non-systematic, chatty and wilful piece of work, slaloming through familiar terrain with brio and dash rather than statistics and documents" (Sam Leith Spectator)

"The story is told with a verve that catches the excitement of a turbulent era" (Roy Hattersley The Times)

"A sweeping, masterly distillation of the past 55 years in Britain, acknowledging the incredible changes since the Queen took the throne in 1953 ... while also lamenting what has been lost" (Books of the Year, Daily Mail)

Review

'A fine work of popular history, and the fact that it is consistently entertaining in no way obscures the underlying seriousness' --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Ian Millard on 15 Nov 2010
Format: Hardcover
I enjoyed this book of the history of our times. I say "our times" because Wilson was born in 1951 (5 years before me). As a read it is great almost all the way through. As history, it has some flaws, as other reviewers have noticed.

Wilson is unafraid to express very personal and very pointed opinions: Mountbatten as a rather stupid "elderly popinjay" with a taste for naval ratings; Nehru as the lover of not only Mountbatten's Jewish wife, Edwina, but Mountbatten himself; (Michael) Portillo as "a blubber-lipped bisexual" etc. His views are expressed in a way that might be called Swiftian, not often seen today.

I agreed with much of what he wrote, though certainly not all. That is not the point. The point surely is that here we have a sweep of contemporary history running notionally from 1953 though mostly from 1956 (the year of Khrushchev's Secret Speech, The Hungarian Uprising, Suez and, co-incidentally, my own year of birth).

There are huge gaps in Wilson's narrative, certainly. I saw little or nothing of the non-mainstream political parties (National Front, British National Party, nor even Militant, the CPGB or the WRP etc). There is nothing (though actually I applaud that, really) of sporting events, which may be the new "opiate of the people", along with pop/rock "music" and TV shows such as "the X Factor" etc.

Wilson makes a lot of points about the changes to political life and quite a few personal comments and observations about the various prime ministers.

Wilson devotes quite a lot of space to the Royal Family, of most of whom he thoroughly disapproves, because of their famed philistinism and boorishness.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By monk_man on 29 Dec 2010
Format: Paperback
An enjoyable journey through British modern history from 1953 to 2008.
The range is wide covering political, social and cultural history. I read this book after reading the author's previous volumes - The Victorians and After the Victorians. I often question how you can be sure what exactly did happen in history; who do you believe and where did their information come from?
I wondered how many people were actually involved in writing this book. For example, on page 94 (2008 hard back edition) he correctly tells us that Derek Bentley was hung for a murder committed by his younger accomplice Christopher Craig but on page 183 we are told incorrectly that Bentley pulled the trigger and it was Craig who called out 'Let him have it'.
OK this is nit picking but, if such easily checked events can be incorrectly recorded, it makes one wonder about all the rest.
However, this is a broad sweep of modern history in a single volume and well worth a read.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A N Wilson is a writer who doesn't mince words. This makes him a breath of fresh air when you agree with him, and a bit of a nightmare when you don't.

I share his views on the hypocrisy of the extreme left - they thought it chic in the 1970s to support Mao Tse-Tung, even though Mao murdered many more people that Hitler ever managed - just as I was cheered by Wilson's support for Prince Charles in the architectural debate.

For similar but opposite reasons, I could hardly continue reading when I got to the section on America post-9/11. A N Wilson may sincerely believe that suicide bombers are "maniacs" and "murderers" but this kind of language is not what you expect from a serious historian.

Meanwhile the neo-cons, whom many people think fit both descriptions, get kid-glove treatment. Either A N Wilson is not aware of the atrocities committed by the USA in Central America and South-East Asia, or he knows and doesn't care that much.

So I am afraid the charge of hypocrisy rather sticks to him too.

I almost fell off my chair when he extolled Tracy Emin, whom I have always felt was a nice person in possession of no discernible talent, and many people would disagree with his rubbishing of the Beatles, although not with his brisk dismissal of John Lennon's inflated self-image.

There is plenty of fun along the way though. It is worth buying the book just for the section on the bibulous adventures of George Brown.
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23 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Mr. EDWARD W. BADGER on 22 Nov 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What you would expect from A N Wilson, an easy and sometimes humorous read of happenings of "Our Times"
All history is written from a biased view (and Wilson is no exception), would you expect a protestant historian to write on the Reformation in the same vein as a catholic writer?
Wilson in all his factual books makes the reader hunger for more information on some subjects which deserve more space and in depth research, this is not a bad thing; the bibliography is very good for making further queries.
One point, why do we have to have "Notes" at the end of the book? I much prefer footnotes on each page. The constant turning to the rear of the book can be a distraction.
As far as I am concerned a good book well worth the purchasing.
What now,is there to be a book from Wilson on the "Future" ?
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24 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Kennedy on 1 Oct 2008
Format: Hardcover
This is the most absurd book of history I have ever read. Wilson is ruthlessly judgemental, sloppy with his dates, casual in his disdain for the niceties of 'proper' history, and his book is brilliant.

In his lucid, digressive style, Wilson delineates an alternately hilarious and devastating analysis of the major events - political, cultural, religious - in British life over the last sixty years. It induced in me convulsions of sadness, laughter, and anger, and I only wish other historians had the temerity - not to mention the learning - to deliver a book of this standard.
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