Frostquake: The frozen winter of 1962 and how Britain emerged a different country (Hardback)Juliet Nicolson (author)
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A vivid and fascinating account of the freezing winter of 1962, Frostquake taps into a watershed moment in British social, political and cultural history through both an exceptional breadth of research and Nicholson’s personal experience.
On Boxing Day 1962, when Juliet Nicolson was eight years old, the snow began to fall. It did not stop for ten weeks. The drifts in East Sussex reached twenty-three feet. In London, milkmen made deliveries on skis. On Dartmoor 2,000 ponies were buried in the snow, and starving foxes ate sheep alive.
It wasn't just the weather that was bad. The threat of nuclear war had reached its terrifying height with the recent Cuban Missile Crisis. Unemployment was on the rise, de Gaulle was blocking Britain from joining the European Economic Community, Winston Churchill, still the symbol of Great Britishness, was fading. These shadows hung over a country paralysed by frozen heating oil, burst pipes and power cuts.
And yet underneath the frozen surface, new life was beginning to stir. A new breed of satirists threatened the complacent decadence of the British establishment. A game-changing band from Liverpool topped the charts, becoming the ultimate symbol of an exuberant youthquake. Scandals such as the Profumo Affair exposed racial and sexual prejudice. When the thaw came, ten weeks of extraordinary weather had acted as a catalyst between two distinct eras.
From poets to pop stars, shopkeepers to schoolchildren, and her own family's experiences, Juliet Nicolson traces the hardship of that frozen winter and the emancipation that followed. That spring, new life was unleashed, along with freedoms we take for granted today.
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Number of pages: 368
Weight: 507 g
Dimensions: 224 x 145 x 33 mm
'A brilliant concept transformed into a brilliant and revelatory book. Completely fascinating and engrossing' - William Boyd
'Juliet Nicolson has done something incredibly clever in her book Frostquake. She has written living history. It is stunning.' - Joanna Lumley
'The freezing winter of 1962-63 finally thawed in early March and as if on cue British society and politics became molten and mobile. Those who lived through it will never forget it. Those who didn't, need to know about it. Juliet Nicolson is brilliant at recapturing mood, moment and character. It's as if the inhabitants of that extraordinary time have flung open the door and welcomed her in from the blizzard outside to tell her all. This book is a must.' - Peter Hennessy
'Frostquake is wholly remarkable . . . a rare and engrossing read that brought that time straight back to my memory and consciousness' - Vanessa Redgrave
'As gripping as any thriller, Frostquake is the story of a national trauma that came out of nowhere and changed us forever. Brilliantly written and almost eerily relevant to our current troubles, I read it in one sitting.' - Tony Parsons
'I was absolutely enthralled from first page to last. It's truly remarkable, so well written, and the scope of her research is extraordinary. I particularly admire the way she entwines her own family's experience with what was going on at the time - a very vivid, accurate and perceptive portrayal of the period at all social, political and cultural levels.' - Selina Hastings
'I loved this beautifully written account of one icy winter during the 1960s in which familiar stories of pop music and politics surprised me thanks to Juliet Nicolson's brilliant research. These events interwoven with Nicolson as an eight year old child and her relationship with her widowed grandfather and her younger brother highlighting how early experiences live on in us forever, make this a deeply moving and original book.' - Julia Samuel, psychotherapist and bestselling author of Grief Works
'The bitter winter of 1962-3 closed down life for Britain just as Covid is doing today. Juliet Nicolson was a child then and is a scintillating storyteller now. There is not an icicle, politician, scandal or song missing from this engrossing re-creation of times so recently passed. Enchanting and wise, it leaves this message for our future: they survived, and so shall we.' - Carmen Callil
'This is an absolutely mesmerising book. Where I knew of the events concerned I was fascinated by the vivid retelling, and when I didn't I was utterly gripped.' - Antonia Fraser
'Works fizzingly well on all its many different levels . . . the unity between the national crisis and the family story never falters. The sensuous delight Juliet Nicolson takes in the natural world makes the snow both villain and star of Frostquake.' - Philip Norman
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