Starred Review. Kynaston (author of the four-volume The City of London) has produced an extraordinary panorama of Britain as it emerged from the tumult of war with a broken empire, a bankrupt economy and an ostensibly socialist government. Britain between 1945 and 1951 is an alien place. No washing machines, no highways, no supermarkets. Everything was heavy, from coins and suitcases to coats and shoes. Everything edible was rationed: tea, meat, butter, cheese, jam, eggs, candy. The awfulness of 1939–1945 still lingered, and any conversation tended to drift toward the war, like an animal licking a sore place. Yet, people assumed Britain was still best: that was so deeply part of how citizens thought, it was taken for granted. By combining astute political analysis with illustrative anecdotes brilliantly chosen from contemporary newspapers, popular culture and memoirs, Kynaston succeeds in recreating the lost world of austerity. The volume represents social history at its finest, and readers may look forward to its promised sequels taking the story of Britain up to 1979 and the election of Margaret Thatcher. 20 b&w photos. (May)
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Drawing on a remarkable array of diaries, letters, memoirs, and surveys, Kynaston assembles a polyphonic history of a pivotal time. In July, 1945, Winston Churchill was swept from office in an electoral landslide, his wartime leadership already overshadowed by domestic worries like jobs and housingseven hundred and fifty thousand dwellings had been damaged in the war, and six million lacked indoor toilets. Kynastons account of the six years of Labour Government that followed attends as much to daily lifeoften grim, with rationing still in effectas to the top-down reconstruction that included the creation of the National Health Service and the nationalization of swaths of British industry. Support for such planning was broad, with even the arch-establishment Times of London in favor of the N.H.S., but not always deep, and Kynaston emphasizes the British peoples complex feelings about the policies undertaken in their name.
Excellent with detailed chapters on indusries, rationing and home life.Published 19 days ago by Denise A. bletsos
A little difficult to understand since many of the references to individuals on radio and early TV in Britain are not known to Americans. Read morePublished 1 month ago by JLH
Fascinating. I grew up in Liverpool and was 17 when WW2 ended in 1945. His description of the period 1945-1951 is spot on. Read morePublished 3 months ago by C. Irwin
A mass of information, and now and then something absolutely divertingPublished 4 months ago by noone
Fantastic!! I plan to follow upon the next two books. My husband lived in the U>K> as boy during WWII and was fascinated byit and the hardships endured after the victory. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Kindle Customer
First, the book was in good condition.(It was a 2nd hand paperback and came from somewhere in London). It was recommended by a friend, a bibliophile, a lawyer. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Audrey Tien
Compelling social history that creates a deep feeling for Britain in the immediate post war years. Highly recommended, and I look forward to reading the rest of the seriesPublished 6 months ago by Fitzclan