Modernity Britain by David Kynaston
Opening the Box, 1957-1959

70%

7 Critic Reviews

...thankfully the grimmer moments come interspersed with Kynaston’s trademark juxtapositions and revealing details. Culturally, modernity is glimpsed lurking in corners, ready to pounce.
-Guardian

Synopsis

The late 1950s was an action-packed, often dramatic time in which the contours of modern Britain began to take shape. These were the 'never had it so good' years, when the Carry On film series and the TV soap Emergency Ward 10 got going, and films like Room at the Top and plays like A Taste of Honey brought the working class to the centre of the national frame; when the urban skyline began irresistibly to go high-rise; when CND galvanised the progressive middle class; when 'youth' emerged as a cultural force; when the Notting Hill riots made race and immigration an inescapable reality; and when 'meritocracy' became the buzz word of the day. The consequences of this 'modernity' zeitgeist, David Kynaston argues, still affect us today.

 

About David Kynaston

See more books from this Author
David Kynaston was born in Aldershot in 1951. He has been a professional historian since 1973 and has written eighteen books, including The City of London (1994-2001), a widely acclaimed four-volume history, and WG's Birthday Party, an account of the Gentleman v. Players match at Lord's in July 1898. He is the author of Austerity Britain 1945-51 and Family Britain 1951-57, the first two titles in a series of books covering the history of post-war Britain (1945-1979) under the collective title 'Tales of a New Jerusalem'. He is currently a visiting professor at Kingston University.
 
Published July 9, 2013 by Bloomsbury USA. 432 pages
Genres: History, Travel. Non-fiction
Add Critic Review

Critic reviews for Modernity Britain
All: 7 | Positive: 5 | Negative: 2

Kirkus

Good
on Oct 01 2014

Covering just five years in more than 900 pages, British historian Kynaston...continues his sprawling study of Britain...Attractive though this book is for anyone interested in the social history of modern Britain, Kynaston is more concerned with the concrete details of daily...Monumental and highly readable.

Read Full Review of Modernity Britain: Opening th... | See more reviews from Kirkus

Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Lara Feigel on Sep 13 2014

...thankfully the grimmer moments come interspersed with Kynaston’s trademark juxtapositions and revealing details. Culturally, modernity is glimpsed lurking in corners, ready to pounce.

Read Full Review of Modernity Britain: Opening th... | See more reviews from Guardian

Guardian

Below average
Reviewed by Catherine Bennett on Jun 22 2013

Although, unlike Alan Johnson's new memoir of the same period, this narrative never quite conveys the brutish conditions inside slums designated for clearance...

Read Full Review of Modernity Britain: Opening th... | See more reviews from Guardian

Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Catherine Bennett on Jun 23 2013

Proceeding by way of themed accumulation of detail, Kynaston assembles endless stories...to create what sometimes feels like a faultlessly researched big picture and, at others, more like immersion in a great vat of random, undigested trivia.

Read Full Review of Modernity Britain: Opening th... | See more reviews from Guardian

Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Richard Davenport-Hines on Jun 15 2013

Kynaston, in this shrewd, funny and ever-readable book, depicts Britain in 1957-59 as a country chafing at traditional puritanical paternalism, and both gullible and indiscriminate as it edged towards tacky, often destructive forms of modernity.

Read Full Review of Modernity Britain: Opening th... | See more reviews from Guardian

Financial Times

Good
Reviewed by Peter Clarke on Jun 14 2013

...a consecutive national history on a scale not seen since Victorians such as James Anthony Froude fashioned their celebrations of the British constitution.

Read Full Review of Modernity Britain: Opening th... | See more reviews from Financial Times

The Economist

Above average
on Jul 06 2013

Mr Kynaston is mostly content to let his sources do the talking. But the anti-elitism of his methodology occasionally finds its way into his analysis.

Read Full Review of Modernity Britain: Opening th... | See more reviews from The Economist

Reader Rating for Modernity Britain
82%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 6 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


Rate this book!

Add Review
×