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Armchair Nation: An intimate history of Britain in front of the TV Hardcover – 22 Aug 2013

4.6 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Profile Books; First Edition edition (22 Aug. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846683912
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846683916
  • Product Dimensions: 14.4 x 4.1 x 22.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 506,514 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


Moran has fast become Britain's foremost explorer and explainer of the disregarded (Juliet Gardiner, author of 'Wartime: Britain 1939-1945')

At last! The view from the sofa. A history of television that reflects the lives of those who watch it - and that means pretty well all of us. Informative, evocative, funny, moving, sometimes even startling, Joe Moran, Britain's premier historian of the everyday, has pulled it off again. (Juliet Gardiner)

Terrific...both erudite and highly entertaining (Simon Hoggart)

Joe Moran is the most perceptive and original observer of British life that we have (Matthew Engel)

Joe Moran's affectionate and erudite chronicle of our nation's love affair with TV achieves the impossible - it is scholarly AND accessible. It is a compelling account of a golden age and reminds us in the process that today's age of plenty has diluted the cultural impact of TV (Michael Grade)

A quite brilliant history of a now lost world of British terrestrial television, Armchair Nation is as warm and friendly as an old valve set and, correspondingly, also crackling and humming with new insights and fresh research. (Travis Elborough)

All that time we were watching television Joe Moran was thinking about it. This wonderful book is packed with stories and characters, shot through with Moran's customary affection for the ordinary and the overlooked. A beautiful study of that flickering box that keeps us enthralled. (Sam West)

Joe Moran is a wonderfully gifted social historian, with a ravenous capacity for research ... He is particularly good at overturning the bogus collective memories to which television so often gives rise ... His sources from diaries and memoirs are rich and varied ... Armchair Nation offers rich pickings for those, like me, who struggle to remember (everything we've watched). (Craig Brown Mail on Sunday 2013-09-08)

One of the most entertaining things about the book - and there are many - is finding out how many of the things we think we know about television are either myths, or simply hogwash ... As well as being consistently perceptive in his observations, Moran has done something I would confidently have thought impossible - he's made the history of British TV as dramatic as it is fun. (John Preston Sunday Telegraph 2013-09-08)

You will find a lot to love in Armchair Nation. Impeccably researched ... Perhaps the most admirable thing about this book is that it treats television with proper seriousness. (Rachel Cooke New Statesman 2013-09-13)

A richly detailed book, as profoundly nostalgic as scoffing Findus Crispy Pancakes or Bird's Eye Potato Waffles. (Roger Lewis Daily Mail 2013-09-13)

A formidable historical analysis of the gogglebox ... Moran's achievement is remarkable given the breadth of subject matter ... Extensive research is lightly worn (Arifa Akbar Independent 2013-09-14)

Moran is scholarly but welcoming ... But in its insights, clarity and honest wit, it's hard to imagine a more engaging book on a subject everyone already thinks they know about. As in the best TV itself, you find yourself learning something new with almost no effort. (Phil Hogan Observer 2013-09-01)

A warm, witty cultural history of television ... Moran creates a compelling and surprising patchwork of the nation through its viewing habits and rituals ... Armchair Nation may provoke nostalgia, but it's never enslaved by it - it's a timely and hugely entertaining assessment of a medium in flux. (Gabriel Tate Time Out 2013-08-28)

Quite wonderful, beautifully written ... it reveals a seated nation, something which has never happened before. There is nothing like it. (Dr Ronald Blythe)

A scholarly, accessible and illuminating history of the everyday. (Philippa Williams The Lady 2013-09-20)

Armchair Nation is as compulsive as any soap, as informative as any documentary and as funny as any sitcom. Moran knows and loves his subject, exploring well-covered territory as well as the less familiar with wit and perception. (Harry Venning The Stage 2013-10-17)

Joe Moran is a superb elegist of the mundane ... Armchair Nation is a captivating look at a universal but unsung subject: the British television viewer ... packed with glorious details (Ysenda Maxtone Graham Country Life 2013-10-23)

Joe Moran's Armchair Nation does something I had thought impossible: make the history of British TV as dramatic as it is fun. It also nails some prevailing myths about British telly. (John Preston Spectator 2013-11-23)

An extraordinary history that is moving, perceptive, unexpectedly lyrical and full of remarkable anecdotes ... In these competitive and digital times it's (television history) a lost world. But at leas, in this celebratory book, Moran has become its chronicler and its poet. (Tony Cohen RTS Magazine 2013-11-01)

An engaging social history of Britain through the prism of TV ... Moran tells an insightful and evocative tale. He combines scholarly techniques with an eye for telling detail ... (and) brings great colour to his story. (Fiona Chesterton LSE Review of Books 2013-11-21)

Joe Moran exposes our love/hate relationship with British television in the splendid Armchair Nation, studding a scholarly overview with nostalgic recollections (Christopher Fowler Independent on Sunday 2013-12-15)

Engaging ... illuminates many of the medium's main moments with an acute witness statement (John Wyver Sight & Sound 2014-03-01)

Book Description

The story of television and how it has changed our lives - from the moon landings to the X Factor.

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Customer reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 26 April 2015
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on 16 August 2014
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