Never Had It So Good: A History of Britain from Suez to the Beatles Paperback – 1 Jan 2010
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A clever and engaging study of Britain as it prepared to swing into the sixties. Never Had It So Good is very good indeed (Amanda Foreman)
A wonderful book -- a most accomplished, readable and convincing tour through seven years from Suez to Beatlemania. It is refreshing because it probes beneath the surface of events, dissolving many of the myths of the sixties and suggesting, quite rightl (Lawrence James)
Unforgettable vignettes and revelations in this prodigious and ground-breaking study of British life. (SUNDAY TIMES)
It is a tribute to Sandbrook's literary skill that his scholarship is never oppressive. Alternately delightful and enlightening, he has produced a book that must have been an enormous labour to write but is a treat to read. (OBSERVER)
A fresh, enlightening and comprehensive history of Britain in the early 1960s by a supremely talented young historian.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
All of the heavyweight political figures are given sufficient space to make them live as individuals: Eden, for example, a man of high principle touched with arrogance for whom, perhaps, the post of prime minister came at a stage in his life when he was a little past his peak; and Macmillan, the Edwardian gentleman who was a whole lot sharper than he ever let on. Similarly the economics of post war Britain is explained in a serious and meaningful, but never dry, fashion. Cabinet rumbles over inflationary and deflationary budget options contain, in Sandbrook's hands, moments of surprising high drama with resignations and often rather childish temper-tantrums being far from uncommon. Similarly the scandals of the time, and in particular the Profumo affair, are given excellent coverage. It wasn't until I had read this book that I fully understood just why the affair between a fairly low-level minister and the (frankly gorgeous) party girl Christine Keeler rocked the Macmillan government to its very core.
But for me what makes this book a real joy - and what puts it above many other volumes of a similar nature - is the attention given to the cultural figures of the time.Read more ›
This book was not on my radar but after hearing author Dominic Sandbrook give an hour long talk about his most recent book, State of Emergency: The Way We Were. Dominic Sandbrook, about the early 1970s, I was hooked by his style. He weaves together political history, consumer history, music, movies, books, labor history, and social history into a single, detailed narrative. As a reader who has few qualms about skimming when things slow down or get bogged down in academic jargon, I found myself reading nearly every word of Never Had It So Good.
Starting with the major event in 1956 Britain, the Suez Crisis, Sandbrook proves his ability to make history real. Until I read his account, I did not know anything about the Suez Crisis. I was surprised to find it was fascinating and tragic in a way that the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars of today will probably seem to future generations.
While I enjoyed reading about the politics of the time, I have to admit I was more interested in the advent of television in Britain and how the long post World War II austerity that had lasted into the 1950s finally gave way to the consumerism that had been rampant in America for the past decade. Sandbrook's entertaining history of the Butlin Holiday Camps that were like summer camps for the whole family was also memorable, and so was his informative section on the music that led up to The Beatles.
Only a few sections did not hold my interest. The political battle between Harold MacMillan and Rab Butler was tedious.Read more ›
Although this is the story of the Sixties, it begins in 1956 with the Suez crisis, and ends as the country heads into 1964. Dominic Sandbrook does a wonderful job of incorporating the cultural and the political. He paints a picture of the country in those post war years, as rationing ended and there was a greater wealth and consumerism. With ITV competing with BBC and supermarkets challenging local shops, people have different choices which affect their everyday lives. However, this is still a society which clings to traditional views and politics. Even as Britain copes with its changed perception within the world, there is a longing for traditionalism and opposition to the influence of the US, especially on the young.
The book begins with Macmillan seemingly safe as Prime Minister, but he is rocked by major events and scandal - particularly the Profumo affair has a real impact on his influence. Along with the Cold War, the threat of atomic war, the European Union, the changing Empire and immigration, satire was also an up and coming influence of public opinion. At the end of this book, we have Harold Wilson as the leader of the Labour Party and it is obvious that political change is coming - and welcomed by most.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Really interesting, got it for my daughter who is doing history A levels teacher recommended, arrived before date stated.Published 10 months ago by tracey
This has value as a history book for those who weren't alive in the fifties and sixties. It offers a good general picture of life in Britain at that time by breaking the period... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Gonetomorrow
Dominic Sandbrook is a storyteller without rival. His histories are enthralling: you sit up very late, not wanting to put the books down. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Christopher H
Moving effortlessly from the Suez crisis and the fall of Eden to the election of Wilson and a reforming Labour Government, Dominic Sandbrook delivers on the premise that this was... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Malcolm Rutherford
This book is a highly readable and fascinating history of Britain from 1956 (Suez crisis) to 1963 (Profumo scandal). But the politics for me isn't the fascination. Read morePublished 17 months ago by jeremy marshall
You live the events at the pace they would have been experienced from the viewpoint of the public not the academicPublished 17 months ago by Mark
On delivery, this book was somewhat damaged: Front and back covers both had creases in it and the corners were covered with ink.Published 19 months ago by Mrs. A. F. Sayer-jones