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Family Britain, 1951-1957 Hardcover – December 22, 2009
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I believe it important to read these books in series because "Austerity Britain" recounts the back-and-forth of the historic governmental initiatives underlying the formation of the British "welfare state" whereas "Family Britain" is more a sociological study highlighting the evolving effects of these fundamental changes and the glacial pace of the lifting of wartime rationing, the snail's progress of just-around-the-corner prosperity, etc. Taken together, they are simply an unparalled portrayal of the country and its people resolutely striving to recover from their literally existential trials.
Finally, as quite an old guy, I couldn't help but grow a little whimsical when reading this account of Britain's difficult 50's. I was a boy during the same period, growing up in Schenectady, NY, and as I was prompted to reflect on the decade, I was reminded that it was the last extended period of my life when things seemed to make sense. Those younger will have been taught that they were sleepy, dull years when nothing much happened. True. And you don't know what you missed.
In many respects Kynaston's book is less a narrative of these years than a panorama that allows the reader to take in details both large and small. Through them he depicts the emergence of what he calls a "proto-consumerist" society from years of rationing and deprivation. As Britain shook off the postwar austerity, its citizens embraced the burgeoning prosperity as their due after their years of sacrifice. As Kynaston demonstrates it was a reward enjoyed by a broader swath of society than ever before, yet as more people enjoyed the benefits of prosperity a growing number of concerns were expressed about the damage being done to society, of the breakdown of communities and the rebelliousness of youth.
Kynaston recounts these years in a sympathetic and perceptive manner. Seemingly nothing is too insignificant to escape his attention, while his ability to draw significance from these trivial facts supplies added depth his account of the events and developments of the era.Read more ›
Trip to the beach on cold windy days - sitting on the sand in sweaters and holding umbrellas to shield against the wind were also a part of my memories of that time. I also remember bomb craters around Cardiff docks that were still waiting to be filled in and rubble on some of the streets where building that had fallen to the Luftwaff still had to be cleared.
Mr. Kynastons book brings back all these memories so vividly and fills in many of the blanks that, owing to my youth,
I hadn't realised.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A major theme is the determination of planners and developers to impose a high-rise vision regardless of the public's wishes. They thought they knew what was best for us. Read morePublished 11 months ago by James Kelly
I started reading David Kynaston' "Austerity Britain" and thought t terrific. I feel the same way about "Family Britain" I will read his bext book of this series.Published 14 months ago by Kindle Customer
I grew up in the '50s in England. So this was a book after my own heart. It made me remember so many things, both large and small. Prof. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Kindle Customer
Both 'Austerity Britain' and 'Family Britain' are very readable, and much of the ease and attraction is automatic for British readers of my age(67). Read morePublished on February 11, 2013 by Les carbonnades flamandes
The amount of research that went into this book is amazing. When you combine it with the author's talent in presenting such detailed material in an intriquing and entertaining way... Read morePublished on August 12, 2012 by sixth sense
"Family Britain" by Kynaston is undoubtedly a comprehensive, country-wide history of the major, and many minor, happenings of the postwar period covered by this and its predecessor... Read morePublished on March 13, 2010 by Reginald H. Seally