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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars RE-LIVE THE LATE SEVENTIES.
I have read all four of Domininic Sanbrooks books on Britain 1956-1979 and in my view this one was by far the best!I am mainly interested in political history and in the earlier volumes one found the narrative flow being interrupted by chapters about football and pop music.In this book the politics are so exciting and engrossing that such diversions are kept to a...
Published 16 months ago by Dalgety

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44 of 59 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars We need to talk about dominic
It is, they say, much easier to write a long book that a short one. And this book is very long indeed. It is only 14 months since Dominic's last, 500 page book (Mad as Hell) and 18 months since the 700 pages of his book on the first half of the 1970s (State of Emergency). Unsurprisingly, the whole book a rather rushed, cut and paste feel. For example, he has about 8...
Published on 24 April 2012 by Mr. Matthew Cooper


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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars RE-LIVE THE LATE SEVENTIES., 30 April 2013
This review is from: Seasons in the Sun: The Battle for Britain, 1974-1979 (Paperback)
I have read all four of Domininic Sanbrooks books on Britain 1956-1979 and in my view this one was by far the best!I am mainly interested in political history and in the earlier volumes one found the narrative flow being interrupted by chapters about football and pop music.In this book the politics are so exciting and engrossing that such diversions are kept to a minimum.The narrative flows smoothly from Harold Wilson returning to Downing Street in March 1974 and Mrs. Thatcher arriving there in May 1979.The villains of the story are Tony Benn ,with his limpet -like clinging to office long after he had ceased to agree with anything the government did and the incompetent but arrogant Trade Union barons ,who destroyed the most union-friendly government there had ever been and ensured it would be replaced by a virulently anti-Trade Union government ever!
Harold Wilson emerges as a broken, pathetic figure ,unable to take hard decisions and having his energy sapped by pointless, trivial rows started by the now forgotten Marcia Falkender.However the heroine is not really Margaret Thatcher -she emerges ,before she became puffed up by success and the flattery of her pals in the media, as a curiosly tentative and unsure figure -often bested in the House of Commons by Callaghan and even the much- diminished Wilson.In fact it is revealing to get a look ,thanks to Sandbrook, at the pre-"Iron Lady" ,pre-Falklands Thatcher.
No!- the real hero of the book is the flawed hero- Jim Callaghan.He struggles manfully with economic crisis , no parliamentary majority and a a Labour Party that was bitterly divided and often unhelpful.Eventually ,by January 1979-betrayed by his union allies -he virtually gives up and drifts to disaster but after what he had been through -who could really blame him?Who in the Labour government would have done better?- Nobody.!Callaghan could have been a really great PM but he never got the chance!
Sanbrook has relied heavily on the diaries of Bernard Donoghue(who worked in the No.10 Policy Unit from 1974-1979 ) and of Tony Benn.However, he puts his own spin and interpretation on them.He is a VG writer as well as historian. If you want to re-live the seventies (or learn about them for the first time)-read this gripping book -it is a non-fiction thriller.Like other reviewers I hope Sandbrook does not stop here but gives us further volumes on the Thatcher era and beyond!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 9 April 2013
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This review is from: Seasons in the Sun: The Battle for Britain, 1974-1979 (Paperback)
Very enjoyable mix of politics and culture taking you back to this fascinating time. Read it in a few days, a real page turner.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A revelation, 3 Jun 2013
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It reads like the best sort of page-turner - a barely believable plot, a fine eye for grim detail and an array of bizarre and sometimes grotesque characters (Marcia Falkender and Jeremy Thorpe to name but two). The chapters devoted to the events in Downing Street, whether under Wilson or Callaghan, are jaw-dropping and Sandbrook's ability to mix high and low culture is, as always, highly revealing, all making for a compelling and very enjoyable read.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How did we survive this?, 1 Sep 2013
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This is a BIG book. I first ordered it from the local library but it was almost too big to handle and I couldn't see myself getting through it in the required time. I've now bought it for my Kindle and what a splendid and illuminating read it is of a period of recent history which I remember so well but which, on reading this, I realise I knew so little. Dominic Sandbrook is an excellent historian but, thankfully, he's a good story-teller too and this journey through the turbulent years of the Wilson and Callaghan years with the looming presence of Thatcher on the horizon. A cracking good read.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cracking read, 23 April 2013
I bought this after state of emergency and haven't been disappointed. The author writes in a flowing easy to read style and really encapsulates the events of the 70s. I was a young child in the era he describes and it's been fascinating to gain a deeper insight into what was going on on Britain at that time. Thoroughly recommend it!
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The kind of book I wish I could write, 25 April 2013
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This review is from: Seasons in the Sun: The Battle for Britain, 1974-1979 (Paperback)
Fascinating history of the late seventies - a period I lived in but am too young to have first-hand memory of (rather like Dominic Sanbrook himself, only 6 months older than me). Sandbrook is stronger on the politics than on the pop-culture but the book does remind us that today's economic problems are nothing new under the sun, only now we don't have such interesting personalities running the show. A very interesting read overall and I will in due course be looking up the other entries in the series... White Heat next perhaps!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brings back memories, 29 May 2013
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traveller (stirling, scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Seasons in the Sun: The Battle for Britain, 1974-1979 (Paperback)
As I was a teenager in the 70's this book brought back a lot of memories - and it added to my knowledge and understanding of the political and social changes taking place around me - I remember the three day week, having to do homework by candlelight and the seemingly never-ending strikes. Well written and well researched, this is an excellent account.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read- whether you were there or not, 21 Feb 2014
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oldhasbeen (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Seasons in the Sun: The Battle for Britain, 1974-1979 (Paperback)
This book covers the history of Britain during my youth, of which the author can have little memory- he was born in 1974 - but it seems like he lived every moment of it, much of it pretty awful.

The labour government of the time doesn't come out very well, I agree with the author's view that Wilson's 74-76 administration was a strong candidate for the title of the worst government in living memory. He does, however, clearly regard Callaghan's administration as far better (and a little unlucky, in inheriting the pile of poo it did from Wilson) and has some admiration for several cabinet members of the time, e.g. Denis Healey, and especially Michael Foot; about Mssrs Benn and Crosland he doesn't bother hiding his contempt.

As for the opposition, Mrs T doesn't come out smelling of roses either - the author's analysis, which I found persuasive, is that she was "humming along with the national mood" rather than blazing a trail while in opposition, and until the Winter of Discontent, he performance was uninspiring, both to her party and the public.

A lot of good non-political stuff too, the author clearly enjoys delving into popular culture and sharing his (somethimes suprising) findings.

Highly recommended
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Superb overview of 70's Britain, 11 May 2013
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A splendid reminder of all my yesterday's! Even handed, very well researched, a clenar exposition of just how bad things were.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, 19 April 2013
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Ian Hunter (Glasgow UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Seasons in the Sun: The Battle for Britain, 1974-1979 (Paperback)
This is a superb book which I cannot recommend highly enough. I'd read all three of Dominic Sandbrook's previous books on post war British history in sequence and the detail is, as always, astonishingly good.

I was 21 when Margaret Thatcher was elected in 1979 and therefore lived through this period and he has captured the essence of the period perfectly. I'm a Labour supporter and despised Thatcher for some of the things that she did to this country (e.g. mass unemployment, extreme poverty, greed/selfish culture). However this book reminded me of just how bad things had become in the late seventies under Wilson and then Callaghan and why many people gradually came to accept that a change of direction was needed. Unfortunately, in my view, Thatcher went too far and many communities are still blighted by her policies.

I learned recently that Sandbrook has Conservative sympathies. If so it is not obvious from the book as handles the politics of the period in an unbiased and even handed way unlike some other books that I've read about post war Britain. The material about punk rock and the rise (and fall) of the Sex Pistols is also excellent.

I understand that this was to be the last book in the series but I hope that he changes his mind and writes a fifth examining the Thatcher era.
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Seasons in the Sun: The Battle for Britain, 1974-1979
Seasons in the Sun: The Battle for Britain, 1974-1979 by Dominic Sandbrook (Paperback - 28 Feb 2013)
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