AUSTERITY BRITAIN, 1945-1951

DAVID KYNASTON
704pp ILLUS 2007 OUT OF PRINT (P) HA47

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£5.95

Description
Coursing through Austerity Britain is 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'. Kynaston weaves a sophisticated narrative of how the victorious 1945 Labour government shaped the political, economic and social landscape for the next three decades.

Kynaston is a historian who likes to get out of the way. You seldom read a decisive judgment or a grand-sweeping generalisation. Rather, he rummages in the attic and pulls a whole clattering cavalcade of interesting junk down on himself . . . SPECTATOR