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Estates: An Intimate History Paperback – 1 Jan 2007

4.2 out of 5 stars 42 customer reviews

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Paperback, 1 Jan 2007
£6.50 £0.14
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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Granta Books (18 Jan. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1862079099
  • ISBN-13: 978-1862079090
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.5 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars 42 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 799,053 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


"(A) passionate and engaging book... I think Hanley's book is
destined to create a watershed in British housing policy" -- Observer

"(An) engrossing story of council housing since the war... (an)
absorbing book"
-- The Times (Roy Hattersley)

"A highly engaging book" -- Book Magazine

"A rich, thought-provoking book"
-- The Observer

"An account of council housing (that is) not just readable but
interesting and moving" -- Scotland on Sunday

"Articulate, savage, poignant, engaged and vividly descriptive" -- Sunday Times

"Hanley writes with an ironic, characteristically Brummie sense of
humour and cutting sarcasm, which makes the book colourfully readable." -- New Statesman

"This study of the rise and decline of council housing is fuelled
by unusual passion and vision" -- Evening Standard

"Written with a passion born of first-hand experience, the author
takes a commendably balanced view... humble, honest and, yes, intimate" -- The List

Hanley's Estates is many things - social history, memoir, mild
polemic... honest, informed and never whimsical... well-timed and truthful
-- Telegraph (Andy Miller)


Britain's council estates have become a media shorthand for poverty, social mayhem, drugs, drink and violence - the social ills they were built to cure. How did homes built to improve people's lives end up doing the opposite? Is their reputation fair, and if so who is to blame? Inhabitants? Politicians? Planners? Architects? Lynsey Hanley was born and raised just outside of Birmingham on what was then the largest council estate in Europe, and she has lived for years on an estate in London's East End. Writing with passion, humour and a sense of history, she recounts the rise of social housing a century ago, its adoption as a fundamental right by leaders of the social welfare state in mid-century and its decline - as both idea and reality - in the 1960s and 70s. Throughout, Hanley focuses on how shifting trends in urban planning and changing government policies - from 'Homes Fit for Heroes' to Le Corbusier's concrete tower blocks to the Right to Buy - affected those so often left out of the argument over council estates: the millions of people who live on them.

What emerges is a vivid mix of memoir and social history, an engaging and illuminating book about a corner of society that the rest of Britain has left in the dark.

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