Top critical review
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Interesting, but patchy.
on 3 February 2014
I was looking forward to reading this, but it wasn't the delight I'd hoped for. The research is extensive and there's a decent enough bibliography. I found the style intensely irritating. Lots of facts that sometimes seemed to have been strung together, almost at random. Parts read like a pick and mix; the content came from a range of sources and was then rehashed to make a biopic, but sometimes without any particular insight into the subject.
The author was also inclined to go off at a tangent about other people. Although linked to the subject, detail of their background added little and was generally an unwelcome distraction. There were several factual inaccuracies and these undermined my belief in some of the supposed facts. Whilst the women and other topics in the last chapters selected were interesting enough, I was left without any sense of how they may have shaped or indeed defined the 1950s.
I don't underestimate the effort involved in putting this book together and I did finish it. But unlike David Kynaston's epic works on many aspects of this period, this one was more light and fluffy and far less engaging.