Austerity Britain, 1945-1951

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Bloomsbury Publishing USA, Dec 1, 2010 - History - 704 pages
As much as any country, England bore the brunt of Germany's aggression in World War II, and was ravaged in many ways at the war's end. Celebrated historian David Kynaston has written an utterly original, and compellingly readable, account of the following six years, during which the country rebuilt itself. Kynaston's great genius is to chronicle the country's experience from bottom to top: coursing through through the book, therefore, is an astonishing variety of ordinary, contemporary voices, eloquently and passionately evincing the country's remarkable spirit. Judy Haines, a Chingford housewife, gamely endures the tribulations of rationing; Mary King, a retired schoolteacher in Birmingham, observes how well-fed the Queen looks during a royal visit; Henry St. John, a persnickety civil servant in Bristol, is oblivious to anyone's troubles but his own. Together they present a portrait of an indomitable people and Kynaston skillfully links their stories to bigger events thought the country. Their stories also jostle alongside those of more well-known figures like celebrated journalist-to-be John Arlott (making his first radio broadcast), Glenda Jackson, and Doris Lessing, newly arrived from Africa and struck by the leveling poverty of post-war Britain. Kynaston deftly weaves into his story a sophisticated narrative of how the 1945 Labour government shaped the political, economic, and social landscape for the next three decades.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Trotsky731 - www.librarything.com

A very well written history of Britain in the immediate post-war years. Kynaston focuses on the social aspects of the time, rather than a sweeping political history, though there is still room for that. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - rosalita - LibraryThing

Whew! Six weeks and 692 pages after cracking it open, I finally turned the last page in this history of Britain in the years immediately following World War II. The first word that comes to mind is ... Read full review

Contents

Waiting for Something to Happen
5
Broad Vistas and All That
19
Oh Wonderful People of Britain
60
PART
91
Were So Short of Everything
93
Constructively Revolutionary
129
Farewell Squalor
143
Glad to Sit at Home
171
Oh for a Little Extra Butter
296
Jolly Good as a Whole
325
A Decent Way of Life
352
A Negative of Snowflakes
397
Part of the Machinery
405
Stiff and Rigid and Unadaptable
431
Too High a Price
460
Proper Bloody Products
470

PART THREE
183
Christ Its Bleeding Cold
185
Our Prestige at Stake
206
The Whole World Is Full of Permits
222
Aint She Lovely?
242
A Change in the Terms of Struggle
278
SMOKE IN THE VALLEY
287
PART
289
What Do You Say?
291
Andy Is Waving Goodbye
503
The Heaviest Burden
535
A Kind of MeasuringRod
560
Their Own Private Domain
592
That Dump?
619
Afterword
633
Acknowledgements
671
Index
677
Copyright

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About the author (2010)

David Kynaston was widely acclaimed for his four-volume history The City of London. He is currently a visiting professor at Kingston University in England.

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