Winds of Change (Hardback)Peter Hennessy (author)
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The third part of Hennessey’s magisterial account of post-war Britain focuses on the political and social upheavals of the early 1960s, when decolonisation, satire and the Profumo Scandal overturned the established order and ushered in an age of meritocracy. Exhaustively researched yet sparklingly written, Winds of Change is the last word on an extraordinary era.
From the celebrated author of Never Again and Having It So Good, a wonderfully vivid new history of Britain in the early 1960s
Harold Macmillan famously said in 1960 that the wind of change was blowing over Africa and the remaining British Empire. But it was blowing over Britain too - its society; its relationship with Europe; its nuclear and defence policy. And where it was not blowing hard enough - the United Kingdom's economy - great efforts were made to sweep away the cobwebs of old industrial practices and poor labour relations. Life was lived in the knowledge that it could end in a single afternoon of thermonuclear exchange if the uneasy, armed peace of the Cold War tipped into a Third World War.
In Winds of Change we see Macmillan gradually working out his 'grand design' - how to be part of both a tight transatlantic alliance and Europe, dealing with his fellow geostrategists Kennedy and de Gaulle. The centre of the book is 1963 - the year of the Profumo Crisis, the Great Train Robbery, the satire boom, de Gaulle's veto of Britain's first application to join the EEC, the fall of Macmillan and the unexpected succession to the premiership of Alec Douglas-Home. Then, in 1964, the battle of what Hennessy calls the tweedy aristocrat and the tweedy meritocrat - Harold Wilson, who would end 13 years of Conservative rule and usher in a new era.
As in his acclaimed histories of British life in the two previous decades, Never Again and Having it so Good, Peter Hennessy explains the political, economic, cultural and social aspects of a nation with inimitable wit and empathy. No historian knows the by-ways as well the highways of the archives so well, and no one conveys the flavour of the period so engagingly. The early sixties live again in these pages.
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Number of pages: 624
Weight: 1118 g
Dimensions: 240 x 162 x 42 mm
A forensic look at the years from 1960 to 64 ... Hennessy has such a keen associative eye and such a generous heart for the sheer oddness of everything that the narrative spins along like a comfortable chat -- Kathryn Hughes * Guardian *
Professor Peter Hennessy is a fine historian of late-twentieth-century Britain. He is a master of all the published sources, and his generous personality, academic distinction and unquestioned integrity have meant that he adds to them a lifetime of the confidences and insights of most of those who have actually made our history. ... So, a standing ovation for Peter Hennessy, a good man who writes very good books. -- Chris Patten * The Tablet *
fascinating ... dominated by the author's personal enthusiasms, researches and memories -- Max Hastings * Sunday Times *
splendid history of postwar Britain ... Hennessy's writing is characterised by a wonderful mixture of wit and erudition -- Piers Brendon * Literary Review *