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Rejoice! Rejoice!: Britain in the 1980s Hardcover – 25 Apr 2010

4.3 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Aurum Press Ltd (25 April 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1845135253
  • ISBN-13: 978-1845135256
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 4 x 24.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 124,455 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'Terrifically entertaining'

(Daily Telegraph)

‘Turner does an excellent job in synthesising the culture and art of the day into the wider political discourse. The result is resolutely entertaining’

(Metro)

‘Put[s] into cold perspective what at the time we were too befuddled with emotion to understand... Turner has produced a masterly mix of shrewd analysis, historical detail and telling quotes... Indispensable’

(James Delingpole Mail on Sunday)

'Dazzling... Turner’s account of the 1980s is as wide-ranging as that fractured, multi-faceted decade demands ... deft at picking out devilish details and damning quotes from history that is less recent than you think’

(Victoria Segal Mojo)

‘Among a host of recent books on the 1980s, Turner's stands out as comfortably the most entertaining’ - Books of the Year

(The Sunday Times)

‘One of the pleasures of Alwyn Turner’s breathless romp through the 1980s is that it overflows with unusual juxtapositions and surprising insights... The tone is that of a wildly enthusiastic guide leading us on a breakneck tour through politics, sport and culture’

(Dominic Sandbrook)

‘This kaleidoscopic history ... provides a vivid and enjoyable guide to these turbulent years. Ranging broadly across popular culture as well as high politics ... Turner brings the period alive and offers insights into both sides of a polarised nation’

(BBC History Magazine)

'Excellent ... this trilogy is about the most authoritative account of the late 20th century as you are likely to get'

(Choice Magazine)

About the Author

ALWYN W. TURNER is the author of Crisis? What Crisis? Britain in the 1970sA Classless Society: Britain in the 1990s and the ebook Things Can Only Get Bitter: The Lost Generation of 1992, all published by Aurum. An acclaimed writer on post-war British culture, his other books include The Biba Experience, Halfway to Paradise, My Generation and Terry Nation: The Man Who Invented the Daleks.


Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This book is a very enjoyable portrait of the changes that took place in Britain in the 1980's, it works on many levels, political, social and economic.

The political history is an excellent over view of a decade dominated by Margaret Thatcher,covering the Falklands War, the Miners strike, Wapping and the fatal error of the introduction of the poll tax in 1990.

It is good on music, showing how music evolved from political protest songs by the Specials and UB40 in the early 80's, through to Live Aid in 1985 and then to Stock, Aitkin and Waterman whose musical production line with songs by the likes of Kylie and Rick Astley dominated the last few years of the decade.

The author covers economic changes from the deep recession of the early 80's through to the rise of yuppies and estate agents by the end of the decade. I was a teenager in the West Midlands in the early 80's and well remember the local news being dominated by factory shut downs and redundancies as traditional manufacturing jobs disappeared and were replaced by jobs in retailing and financial services, this book is a timely reminder of those times.
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More of a chronicle than a history, Rejoice! Rejoice! gives you a quick skim through some of the political and pop cultural events which loomed large in the media in the 1980s.

Turner doesn't give us much in the way of analysis and the material covered seems to have been chosen for its approachability and entertainment value as much as for its historical significance. But then, to me, that didn't seem to be the point. I found it an enjoyable read, and thought it was written in a fairly vivid style.

You will read a lot about the Tony Benn/Denis Healy clash, the reminiscences of alternative stand up comedians, and the content of sketches from Spitting Image. There are also dedicated chapters on the media and trade unions, alongside more chronologically organised chapters.
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The Eighties. What do you remember? It's a fair bet that what will spring to mind are things that will be covered in this entertaining history and overview of the decade as it jumps from the inevitable focus on politics to the more ephemeral flotsam and jetsam of contemporary culture. Pop music, television, art and literature are given as much space, almost, as Thatcherism. It's a very Britiish-centric account too, which is a good thing as it would be easy to place a big focus on Reagan or Gorbachov as the decade politically progressed. Obviously they get a mention or two, but always in the context of how their thoughts and deeds pertained to us in Little Britain.
The author has picked out the key events of the times, the Falklands, the Miners Strike, the rise of capitalism and the changes our society went through over the time. It's a thoughtful and balanced review, never too poe-faced or intellectually driven.The rise of monetarism or the decline of trade unions, for example, are seen as no more important than the rise of the television game show or alternative comedy. Perhaps a bit more focus could have been put on the growth of technology - after all, these were the years that saw the birth of the mobile `phone and the advent of desktop computing, which would revolutionise the next decade - but maybe that will be covered in the Nineties edition, which I will definitely be reading!
The book rattles along, powered by some choice quotes (especially one from Ted Nugent about Lady Diana) that can make you laugh out loud, although I did think that there was a preponderance in using certain authors or commentators - Kenneth Williams and Mark Steel spring to mind - when their must have been a wealth of sources to choose from. Perhaps this was the problem.
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Great overview of the decade and well-balanced politically, in contrast to Andrew Marr's similar books which were - although enjoyable too - clearly pro-Labour. Turner takes a more balanced approach in terms of Thatcher particularly, and doesn't shy away from pointing out the retorspective evidence that Thatcher was sometimes right as well as wrong. Makes me sound like a Tory - I'm not - its simply that a politically neutral book about the eighties is something of a rarity. But this at least is one.

The references to popular culture of the time - particularly music - blends in well with the narrative to take you right back there. I especially loved the references to Ben Elton - the high priest of political correctness. At the time, we thought he was an anti-establishment rebel. Turns out he was basically just a Labour activist. Contrast his rantings about Thatcher with his total silence on that terrible Tony Blair . . .

Great stuff. I'm now going to buy his book about the seventies. Fingers crossed its as good as this one.
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This is a brilliant read, a book that is easy to read and full of reference to a decade that really did transform Britain. I went from toddler to teen in the 80s and watched as Thatcher and her government changed the very fabric of society as my parents knew it. From memory, there is very little that has been missed by Turner though there is perhaps little said of the technological changes during that decade, which in my opinion were many and fast paced. Turner writes in a particularly non judgemental style and simply records what happened from both ends of the political spectrum. Look forward to his 90s follow up.
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