- Audio Download
- Listening Length: 41 hours and 19 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Audible Studios
- Audible.co.uk Release Date: 16 Nov. 2012
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00A8LR9O6
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank:
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Seasons in the Sun: The Battle for Britain, 1974-1979 Audiobook – Unabridged
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Sandbrook captures the times excellently. Seasons...errs towards politics, focusing less on life in Britain than State of Emergency; the balance is better in my view. Includes some revision of accepted wisdom, especially debunking the notion that the Callaghan government was a disaster from start to finish. He and Dennis Healy, eventually, took the brave decisions that had been ducked and avoided for years by the weary yet still evasive Harold Wilson. And Sandbrook has very little time for Tony Benn, a refreshing approach given Benn's undeserved status as a political deity in his later years.
Overall an excellent and enthralling read with enough new thinking to elevate it beyond accessible compendium to important history text.
Compared to today this was the politics of giants:
Harold Wilson, cunning and duplicitous, already succumbing to paranoia.
Jim Callaghan himself, noble but blinded by what the Labour movement had been so that he no longer truly saw it for what it was.
Margaret Thatcher, more pragmatic than we remember, but more nervous and shrill too.
Tony Benn, the "tribune of the people" disloyal but afraid to resign. Blinded by his own vision of what the future would be.
The cast goes on, men and women of conviction all. Compare that to the poor lot that are their successors today. Yet the late '70's were not that long ago, certainly events form them stick out in my memory. Including asking my classmates in our North East Middle School who they would have voted for in 1979 and everyone saying Labour except one kid. I couldn't understand how the Tories won in 1979.
After reading this book I certainly can.
It is my first Sandbrook book and if the rest are this good - look forward to them.
Many other writers seem to want to occupy this space and many have done an OK .job. Some ( without naming names) have done a pretty poor job and produced boring and uninteresting reads.. But to me Dominic Sandbrook has gone to the top of the class with this book
I lived through this period and was familiar with many of the events and stories related. However when you have lived through a period you see it through the prism of how it was reported to you as events unfolded. And often those initial judgements and thoughts are actually wrong in part through lack of the true facts about what was happening.
So a good historian looking back on this period can actually put these events into a completely different and truer context and that is what masterfully is done here. The strongest part of the book is the complete demolition job done of the Labour Government and in particular of Harold Wilson which must be one of the most devastating critiques of any government in history
What is difficult for people to understand today is what a towering figure Wilson was. He was the Tony Blair of this age who had been around apparently for ever and seemed to have the confidence of the people. Probably it is true to say ( perhaps like Blair) that even at the time he did not quite deliver what he promised. But as he presided over the majority of the most important 15 years in post war history and possibly in social terms the most important 15 years ever he took a lot of the credit at the time.
What this book shows is what an incredibly odd person both he and those around him were and how they acted in a way that today would just be completely unacceptable. It also shows that far from being one of the Greats he was probably one of the Great Losers and that little real credit should be given to him for the positive things that occurred and a great deal of criticism can be made of the completely incompetent way the Country was run especially economically during this period. ( again massive shades of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown )
What however is difficult to express is the completely enthralling read this book is and how brilliantly the story is told simply from an entertainment point of view. This is a great read and as I say really compares favourably with other similar social histories . I can really recommend this book