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Dominic Sandbrook is set to lead the next generation of narrative historians. Born in Shropshire in 1974 and educated at Oxford, St. Andrews and Cambridge, he taught history at the University of Sheffield and is currently a fellow of the Rothermere Institute at Oxford.
This sometimes overwhelmingly detailed book is the first of two covering British history from the Suez Canal crisis (1956) through to the phenomenon of the Beatles. In this volume, Sandbrook (history, Rothermere Inst., Oxford) addresses the "Age of Affluence" first experienced under Prime Minister Harold Macmillan(1957-63), focusing in great depth on the advent of consumerism, the effects of the Cold War, the decline of the British Empire, immigration, literature, and music. Sandbrook argues that Britain in the 1960s was not experiencing a revolution but rather a bridging between old and new societal mores; typical of the contradictions was the fact that Americans were almost uniformly disliked at a time when American culture was having an undeniable influence in the United Kingdom. The Profumo scandal of 1963 concludes the book. The text is extremely comprehensive while also offering welcome moments of humor: amusing and pithy quotations start each chapter. The idea that this was a period of transition rather than revolution is fairly unusual in studies of U.K. history. This engaging book will be useful both in libraries specializing in British history as well as in those with more general history collections. With 16 pages of black-and-white photos. B. Allison Gray, John Jermain Memorial Lib., Sag Harbor, NY Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
'A clever and engaging study of Britain as it prepared to swing into the sixties. Never Had It So Good is very good indeed' Amanda Foreman 'A wonderful book -- a most accomplished, readable and convincing tour through seven years from Suez to Beatlemania. It is refreshing because it probes beneath the surface of events, dissolving many of the myths of the sixties and suggesting, quite rightly, that this was a period of uneven and gradual change rather than a revolution' Lawrence James 'Unforgettable vignettes and revelations in this prodigious and ground-breaking study of British life.' SUNDAY TIMES 'It is a tribute to Sandbrook's literary skill that his scholarship is never oppressive. Alternately delightful and enlightening, he has produced a book that must have been an enormous labour to write but is a treat to read.' OBSERVER 'With a novelist's skill, the historian picks his way through the unfolding drama of Profumo, simultaneously showing Britain on the cusp of moving from a society stulified by class and privilege to one based for the first time on merit.' DAILY MAIL 'Sandbrook's breadth of research is stunning and his enthusiasm ensures that this book is impossible to put down.' DAILY TELEGRAPH 'There are bound to be many more books on the 1960s, but few will be as well-structured, well-written of intelligent as this.' COUNTRY LIFE 'Witty and intriguing.' SUNDAY INDEPENDENT '[A] splendidly chunky social history.' SCOTSMAN 'The author's ambition is to strip the mythology away from the Sixties, to steer a course between eulogising the period as a unique liberation of Britain and damning it as destroying the country's traditions. It is a goal he achieves in some style, to the extent that it is hard to imagine this book, with its 750-plus close-typed pages, being toppled from its perch as the best-value publication of the year.' OBSERVER