Coursing through Austerity Britainis an astonishing variety of voices - vivid, unselfconscious, and unaware of what the future holds. A Chingford housewife endures the tribulations of rationing; a retired schoolteacher observes during a royal visit how well-fed the Queen looks; a pernickety civil servant in Bristol is oblivious to anyone's troubles but his own. An array of working-class witnesses describe how life in post-war Britain is, with little regard for liberal niceties or the feelings of their 'betters'. Many of these voices will stay with the reader in future volumes, jostling alongside well-known figures like John Arlott (here making his first radio broadcast, still in police uniform), Glenda Jackson (taking the 11+) and Doris Lessing, newly arrived from Africa, struck by the levelling poverty of postwar Britain. David Kynaston weaves a sophisticated narrative of how the victorious 1945 Labour government shaped the political, economic and social landscape for the next three decades. Deeply researched, often amusing and always intensely entertaining and readable, the first volume of David Kynaston's ambitious history offers an entirely fresh perspective on Britain during those six momentous years.
David Kynaston's Austerity Britain 1945-51, the first book in his series Tales of a New Jerusalem, was a major Sunday Timesbestseller in 2007. Here is the second volume from this landmark book covering 1948-51. Continuing his groundbreaking series about post-war Britain, Kynaston presents a breathtaking portrait of our nation through eyewitness accounts, newspapers of the time and previously unpublished diaries. Drawing on the everyday experiences of people from all walks of life, Smoke in the Valley covers the length and breadth of the country to tell its story. This is an unsurpassed social history: intensely evocative to those who were there and eye-opening for their children and grandchildren.
The late 1950s and early 1960s was a period in its own right-neither the stultifying early to midfifties nor the liberating mid- to late-sixties-and an action-packed, dramatic time in which the contours of modern Britain started to take shape. These were the “never had it so good” years, in which mass affluence began to change, fundamentally, the tastes and even the character of the working class; when films like Saturday Night and Sunday Morning and TV soaps like Coronation Street and Z Cars at last brought that class to the center of the national frame; when Britain gave up its empire; when economic decline relative to France and Germany became the staple of political discourse; when “youth” emerged as a fully fledged cultural force; when the Notting Hill riots made race and immigration an inescapable reality; when a new breed of meritocrats came through; and when the Lady Chatterley trial, followed by the Profumo scandal, at last signaled the end of Victorian morality. David Kynaston argues that a deep and irresistible modernity zeitgeist was at work, in these and many other ways, and he reveals as never before how that spirit of the age unfolded, with consequences that still affect us today.
Illusions of Gold, the third volume of David Kynaston's magnificent quartet, The City of London, sweeps us from 1914 to 1945, through years of fluctuating fortunes that began with the City at an all-time high, and ended with the 'Square Mile' ravaged by bombs, at its lowest ebb ever. With unerring judgement and story-telling verve, Kynaston takes us through the City's vain attempt to recover the glory days before the First World War, in the return to the Gold Standard. He follows its tussles with government over control of monetary policy, investigates its increasingly important links with British industry and gives a pioneering account of its controversial role in the politics of appeasement. Kynaston's great strength is his combination of vivid narrative with meticulous scholarship, based on an unparalleled variety of unpublished sources. The City of London is now hailed as one of the most ambitious and rewarding historical projects of recent times.
David Kynaston's history of post-war Britain has so far taken us from the radically reforming Labour governments of the late 1940s in Austerity Britain and through the growing prosperity of Family Britain's more placid 1950s. Now Modernity Britain 1957-62 sees the coming of a new Zeitgeist as Kynaston gets up close to a turbulent era in which the speed of social change accelerated. The late 1950s to early 1960s was an action-packed, often dramatic time in which the contours of modern Britain began to take shape. These were the 'never had it so good' years, when the Carry On film series got going, and films like Room at the Top and the first soaps like Coronation Street and Z Cars brought the working class to the centre of the national frame; when CND galvanised the progressive middle class; when 'youth' emerged as a cultural force; when the Notting Hill riots made race and immigration an inescapable reality; and when 'meritocracy' became the buzz word of the day. In this period, the traditional norms of morality were perceived as under serious threat (Lady Chatterley's Lover freely on sale after the famous case), and traditional working-class culture was changing (wakes weeks in decline, the end of the maximum wage for footballers). The greatest change, though, concerned urban redevelopment: city centres were being yanked into the age of the motor car, slum clearance was intensified, and the skyline became studded with brutalist high-rise blocks. Some of this transformation was necessary, but too much would destroy communities and leave a harsh, fateful legacy. This profoundly important story of the transformation of Britain as it arrived at the brink of a new world is brilliantly told through diaries, letters newspapers and a rich haul of other sources and published in one magnificent paperback volume for the first time.
Between 1890 and 1914 the City of London was all dominant as Britain's legendary gold standard reigned supreme across the globe. Golden Years anatomises an elite at the height of its powers. Combining brilliant scholarship with high entertainment, and drawing on an unparalleled range of original sources, David Kynaston brings the city triumphant into the mainstream of British and world history.
As in Austerity Britain, an astonishing array of vivid, intimate and unselfconscious voices drive the narrative. The keen-eyed Nella Last shops assiduously at Barrow Market as austerity and rationing gradually give way to relative abundance; housewife Judy Haines, relishing the detail of suburban life, brings up her children in Chingford; the self-absorbed civil servant Henry St John perfects the art of grumbling. These and many other voices give a rich, unsentimental picture of everyday life in the 1950s. We also encounter well-known figures on the way, such as Doris Lessing (joining and later leaving the Communist Party), John Arlott (sticking up on Any Questions? for the rights of homosexuals) and Tiger's Roy of the Rovers (making his goal-scoring debut for Melchester). All this is part of a colourful, unfolding tapestry, in which the great national events - the Tories returning to power, the death of George VI, the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth, the Suez Crisis - jostle alongside everything that gave Britain in the 1950s its distinctive flavour: Butlin's holiday camps, Kenwood food mixers, Hancock's Half-Hour, Ekco television sets, Davy Crockett, skiffle and teddy boys. Deeply researched, David Kynaston's Family Britain offers an unrivalled take on a largely cohesive, ordered, still very hierarchical society gratefully starting to move away from the painful hardships of the 1940s towards domestic ease and affluence.
A World of Its Own tells the story of the City of London's nineteenth century ascent to its position as the world's leading international financial centre. We witness the rise of the merchant banks, the growth of the Stock Exchange, the internationalism of the money market, and the characters behind these developments, like the mercurial Nathan Rothschild or the dour Joshua Bates. High history is interwoven with high drama: the burning of the Royal Exchange on a snowy night in 1838, the hectic making of fortunes from South American guano; the Baring crisis of 1890, when the city's most respected house was rescued by its keenest rival. A World of Its Own is at once a powerful narrative, peopled with extraordinary characters, and a brilliant work of social and economic history.
British and West German Protest Movements and the Early Cold War, 1945-1970
Author: Holger Nehring
Pubpsher: Oxford University Press
Focuses on a number of peace movements in Britain and West Germany from the end of Second World War in 1945 to the early 1970s to understand how European societies experienced and reacted to the Cold War.