4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
50s Under the Microscope,
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This review is from: Modernity Britain: Opening the Box, 1957-1959 (Hardcover)
As someone who lived as a young adult during the late fifties,I found it interesting to read the offering of a historian who was too young to have experienced the time first hand. What David Kynaston has done is to select what he considers the significant details of the time under the microscope: a very short period of modern history.
The book has been criticised as cut and paste, which it binevitably is to some extent. Certainly there is little critical comment and no moralising. The qualities which generally recommend the book are the skill of selection and the smoothness of the writing. Kynaaston knows how to keep mus interested and tells a good story. He catches well the spirit of the times.
For me the book was worth it for a single chapter: the one which outlines the debate about grammar schools, secondary mods, the public schools and the 11+ . It's a debate which still continues. I cherish a quote by an American commentator who compares rejection at 11+ (not selection!) to the racist policies of USA at the time: "That hopeful phrase 'parity of esteem' is as hollow as our 'separate but equal'. The main difference is that we discriminate against a minority and the English against a majority" How very true.