Peerless. The Five Giants essentially define the contract between Government and people. If you want to understand the choices and trade-offs made by those in power then there is no better place to start than this giant of a book.
I am still in the middle of this enthralling book. It is superbly written, and although I have read about the subject before, I’ve learnt a lot from the earlier chapters. I recommend it unreservedly for anyone who wants to learn why British society is the way it is. A truly remarkable piece of political and social history.
A deep dive into Britain's welfare state from its creation in the aftermath of WW2 up to the present day provides some startling revelations such as Margaret Thatcher's surprising socialist tendencies and Barbara Castle as the unwitting champion of private hospitals.
In the case of Thatcher this highlights how much the debate was about ideas nit party politics. Specifically the question of whether welfare should be universal or targeted.
In the case of Castle, it's the problem of not understanding the risks of unintended consequences.
Very valuable history of the welfare state, putting current problems and conflicts of interest into a long-term perspective. The carefully researched and referenced detail of who said what, and why it was listened to or not is informative and largely avoids polemic: however that same detail might be a problem for some readers.