Monday, June 06, 2016

A Shake of the Dice by David Kynaston

I've just finished reading A Shake of the Dice - the second book that completes the third volume of Modernity Britain by David Kynaston. It's the third volume in his project - writing a popular social history of Britain from 1945 - 1979 titled Tales of the New Jerusalem. It marks the half way point in this compelling history.

All the familiar themes are here, although in this second book there is not the same intense focus on key themes like education or the sustained debate on the rise in youth culture.

This is a more rounded book that explored industrial relations in Britain between 1959 - 1962. It considered the negotiations between government, unions and industry of one specific industrial dispute.

It also touched on the acceleration of slum clearances and the development of sky scrappers in the north of England and Glasgow. Kynaston does consider the destruction of working class communities and the alienation experienced in the new sky towers. Again we looked at the impact on Salford in particular.

Another highlight for me was the section on Tony Hancock. It covers the end of 'Hancock's Half Hour, the split in the relationship with Sid James and the beginning of Hancock's solo work.

The diarists are also present. There seemed to me a more systematic approach to them. They seemed to be used on mass to comment on key events. Male diarists were also introduced including Kenneth Williams.

Click the book cover below to buy the book.

It was an enjoyable read.

And I'm looking forward to the next installment - opportunity Britain.  

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