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Austerity Britain 1945-51 Hardcover – 7 May 2007

4.3 out of 5 stars 107 customer reviews

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Kindle Edition
Hardcover, 7 May 2007
£82.46 £0.36
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 704 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury; 1st edition (7 May 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747579857
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747579854
  • Product Dimensions: 16.1 x 24.1 x 6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 107 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 268,436 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


A must-read history, an intimate picture of a country trying to
pick itself up after the war... A colossal undertaking and a magnificent
history' Sue Baker, Book of the Month,
-- Publishing News, Sue Baker, Book of the Month.

A wonderfully illuminating picture of the way we were. -- Roy Hattersley, The Times

Almost implausibly entertaining. Kynaston's rivetingly enjoyable
book has a quality of glorious abundance and plenty' -- Philip Hensher, Spectator

As social history, Austerity Britain brings off the very difficult
trick of combining chronological flow and themed discussion into a seamless
narrative. -- D.J. Taylor, Independent

Austerity Britain is a cracking read. The Attlee years have been
covered before, notably in scholarly political histories by Kenneth Morgan
and Peter Hennessy, but Kynaston's book is both more evocative and more
entertaining than both. -- Dominic Sandbrook, Daily Telegraph

Austerity Britain kicks off a series by the same author that will
end in 1979, with the election of Margaret Thatcher. What a treat we have
in store. -- Craig Brown's Book of the Week, Mail on Sunday

Even readers who can remember the years Kynaston writes about will
find they are continually surprised by the richness and diversity of his
material. -- John Carey, Sunday Times

One of the greatest and most enduring publishing ventures for
generations. It is very hard to praise the author too highly... this book
is both a history and a triumphant work of art.
-- Brian Thompson, Observer

This is a classic; buy at least three copies - one for yourself
and two to give to friends and family... [A] fascinating book. Kynaston's
eye for the telling quotation enables him to fix the spirit of the age with
just the right tone. -- John Charmley, Guardian

This is social history fashioned into narrative on the grand scale
... Austerity Britain is an outstanding portrait of an age. -- Paul Addison, Literary Review


Coursing through "Austerity Britain" is an astonishing variety of voices - vivid, unselfconscious, and unaware of what the future holds. A Chingford housewife endures the tribulations of rationing; a retired schoolteacher observes during a royal visit how well-fed the Queen looks; a pernickety civil servant in Bristol is oblivious to anyone's troubles but his own. An array of working-class witnesses describe how life in post-war Britain is, with little regard for liberal niceties or the feelings of their 'betters'. Many of these voices will stay with the reader in future volumes, jostling alongside well-known figures like John Arlott (here making his first radio broadcast, still in police uniform), Glenda Jackson (taking the 11+) and Doris Lessing (newly arrived from Africa, struck by the levelling poverty of postwar Britain. David Kynaston weaves a sophisticated narrative of how the victorious 1945 Labour government shaped the political, economic and social landscape for the next three decades.

Deeply researched, often amusing and always intensely entertaining and readable, the first volume of David Kynaston's ambitious history offers an entirely fresh perspective on Britain during those six momentous years.

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