The People's Peace: British History 1945-1989

Kenneth O. Morgan, Author Oxford University Press, USA $60 (600p) ISBN 978-0-19-822764-9
Rich in human incident, this searching, dispassionate, masterful history of postwar Britain avoids easy conclusions as it traces Britain's fall from preeminence as a world power. British historian Morgan argues that Labour leaders of 1945-61 were in no sense social radicals, that '50s affluence owed little to Conservative economic management, that '60s youth culture and permissiveness were only marginally factors for change. He bristles with sharp social observations, as when he notes BBC's ``careful preference for middle-class accents, life-styles and preferences.'' Although he credits Thatcher with ``ingrained pragmatism'' and suggests that she is more of a moderate than her critics have charged, he contends that her dismantling of the welfare state has brought record deficits, a ``huge underclass'' and sharper social divisions in a country locked in rigid, predetermined patterns and polarized between aging industrial north and thriving high-tech south, between the well-off and the low-paid or unemployed. Photos. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 01/21/1991
Release date: 01/01/1991
Paperback - 584 pages - 978-0-19-285252-6
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