We’ve done awfully well

Karl Miller

  • BuyModernity Britain: Opening the Box, 1957-59 by David Kynaston
    Bloomsbury, 432 pp, £25.00, June 2013, ISBN 978 0 7475 8893 1

This book is preceded by two two-volume books that have been praised by journalists to the skies. They belong to a grand design, to a project set to tell the story of modern Britain (modern England as a rule) from 1945 to 1979; the present instalment, Modernity Britain: Opening the Box, covers the narrow gap from 1957 to 1959. David Kynaston tells the story in his own measured words, and he also tells it in the often loud and uninhibited words of others – authors, newspapers, diarists, eminent politicians, Mass Observation respondents. Man, it seems, is an indignant animal. Kynaston has researched widely into such sources and digests them into a readable totality. If this is, in part, a scissors-and-paste project, it’s also one that stands on its own feet.

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