Customer Review

210 of 216 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dazzling social history, 17 Jun. 2007
This review is from: AUSTERITY BRITAIN 1945 - 51 (Hardcover)
This is an exemplary social history of Britain in the six years after World War 11, dazzling in its scope and impressive in its detail.

It covers the impact of the War and its aftermath on most major aspects of British society: class, health, crime, sport, culture (high and low), work, play, leisure, politics, race, the mass media and much more.

Moreover it does it readably. Kynaston seems to have learnt the lessons of the readability studies published at about the time that he covers, including the most important (and most often forgotten) of all: put flesh and blood on your facts, quotes and anecdotes. He does this by enlivening his narrative from beginning to end with a focus on people. Politics may be a clash of ideas but it is people who generate these ideas. Education is teachers and pupils in classrooms. Buildings and suburbs, cities and towns are the product of architects and planners, government officials and residents.

The readability studies of Flesch, Gunning and others said Be Specific and Kynaston bowls over his readers with a wealth of fascinating details. They said Illustrate with a Wealth of Anecdotes and Kynaston provides a veritable newsreel of little stories, weaving them together so seamlessly that the reader is scarcely aware that he is often making an incisive argument. This is because the argument is presented as narrative rather than the abstract analysis normally associated with academic historians.

The result is that you get the feel of time and place, the taste of food, the appearance of streets and towns and cities, the image and reality of buildings. This is, after all, social history, not political history. Politicians make their appearances and so does politics - but in a social context.

It is difficult to imagine anyone beginning to read this book and failing to finish it. It is eminently readable in both the measurable technical sense and in the general sense that it is approachable and captivating.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 25 Oct 2008 19:23:33 BDT
After reading that review, I shall order the book.

Posted on 5 Nov 2008 11:35:04 GMT
Maggitto says:
It sounds good. I think my clever brother will like it

Posted on 30 May 2012 18:11:33 BDT
World War 11 - what happened to WW III to WW X ?
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