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Family Britain, 1951-1957


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The first in David Kynaston's landmark series, Austerity Britain, was a Sunday Times bestseller in hardback and has now sold over 65,000 copies (BookScan) A consumer advertising and publicity campaign will target everyone who enjoyed Austerity Britain and all those with an interest in how Britain picked itself up after a period of great difficulty In current times the public is turning to the stories and lessons of the past; Family Britain will have tremendous resonance, relevance and market reach on publication

About the Author

David Kynaston was born in Aldershot in 1951. He has been a professional historian since 1973 and has written eighteen books, including The City of London (1994-2001), a widely acclaimed four-volume history, and W.G.'s Birthday Party, an account of the Gentleman vs. the Players at Lord's in July 1898. He is the author of Austerity Britain, 1945-51, the first title in a series of books covering the history of post-war Britain (1945-1979) under the collective title 'Tales of a New Jerusalem'. He is currently a visiting professor at Kingston University.


Following U.K. bestseller Austerity Britain 1945-1951, this is the second title in historian Kynaston's series on postwar Britain. It was an eventful time. A BBC survey conducted after King George VI's death in 1952 found the lower classes were upset that news of his death disrupted their favorite radio programs. The media was saturated with news of Elizabeth II's coronation as well as Princess Margaret's affair with a divorced man. The new Tory Home Secretary gave prosecuting homosexuals the highest priority; the end of meat and butter rationing in 1954 after 14 years caused jubilation; there was a 1955 national rail strike; and Ruth Ellis swung from the gallows for murdering her cheating, abusive socialite lover. Kynaston makes excellent use of personal diaries from housewives, civil servants, and the famous, all struggling with personal lives as they voice opinions on issues of the day (priceless letters by novelist Kingsley Amis show him knocking Dylan Thomas to poet Philip Larkin). As Kynaston juggles a staggering number of sources, he gives us an audaciously intimate, rich, and atmospheric history that is so real, you can just about taste it. Photos. (Jan.) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

'This wonderful volume is only the first in a series that will take us to 1979 and the election of Margaret Thatcher. When complete, Kynaston's skill in mixing eyewitness accounts and political analysis will surely be one of the greatest and most enduring publishing ventures for generations.' Brian Thompson, Observer 'Even readers who can remember the years Kynaston writes about will find they are continually surprised by the richness and diversity of his material ... mouth-watering' John Carey, Sunday Times 'The book is a marvel ... the level of detail is precise and fascinating' John Campbell, Sunday Telegraph 'A wonderfully illuminating picture of the way we were' Roy Hattersley, The Times

In the second volume of his series intending to document Britain from 1945 up to the start of the Thatcher era, Kynaston (Austerity Britain: 1945-51) offers a careful analysis of the political, social, cultural, and economic climate that defined Britain's postwar world. Beginning with the 1951 Festival of Britain and concluding with the invasion of the Suez Canal, Kynaston demonstrates how change came rapidly in these years, embraced by some of the general population and rejected by others. While the British were rebuilding, using more modern design, taking to commercial television, and discovering Elvis, they were also still under a wartime rationing system and holding on to an old elitism. Kynaston moves the reader deftly through the most prominent concerns of the time by means of diary entries, excerpted Mass Observation surveys, and other primary accounts. Readers will become actively immersed in the time period to an extent not often found in this kind of study. VERDICT With the previous volume, this is sure to be a staple in the British history genre. It will resonate most with serious Anglophiles and with a scholarly audience. With a comprehensive index (not seen), it could serve as an excellent source in all academic library British history collections.-Maria C. Bagshaw, Knowledge & Information Resources, Ecolab, Inc. Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

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