Never Had It So Good: A History of Britain from Suez to the Beatles

Never Had It So Good A History of Britain from Suez to the Beatles Arguing that historians have been besotted by the cultural revolution of the Sixties Dominic Sandbrook re examines the myths of this controversial period and paints a complicated picture of a society

  • Title: Never Had It So Good: A History of Britain from Suez to the Beatles
  • Author: Dominic Sandbrook
  • ISBN: 9780349115306
  • Page: 273
  • Format: Paperback
  • Arguing that historians have been besotted by the cultural revolution of the Sixties, Dominic Sandbrook re examines the myths of this controversial period and paints a complicated picture of a society caught between conservatism and change He explores the growth of a modern consumer society, the impact of immigration, the invention of modern pop music, and the BritisArguing that historians have been besotted by the cultural revolution of the Sixties, Dominic Sandbrook re examines the myths of this controversial period and paints a complicated picture of a society caught between conservatism and change He explores the growth of a modern consumer society, the impact of immigration, the invention of modern pop music, and the British retreat from empire He tells the story of the colourful characters of the period, like Harold Macmillan, Kingsley Amis, and Paul McCartney, and brings to life the experience of the first post imperial generation, from the Notting Hill riots to the first Beatles hits, from the Profumo scandal to the cult of James Bond.

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      Published :2019-09-06T01:13:47+00:00


    About “Dominic Sandbrook

    • Dominic Sandbrook

      A well known historian, commentator and broadcaster and author of two highly acclaimed books on modern Britain Never Had It So Good and White Heat Their follow up is State of Emergency.



    674 thoughts on “Never Had It So Good: A History of Britain from Suez to the Beatles

    • It wasn't until months after buying this and its sequel White Heat in autumn 2012 that I found out the author was a Tory; already slightly regretting the purchase of these huge tomes, I was even less keen after that but still wanted to read about the era in detail. Always alert for right-wing bias whilst reading the book, I was usually pleasantly surprised - for example Sandbrook's assessment of contentious issues like immigration, trade unions and the EEC was even-handed if not actually leaning [...]


    • This book, the first of two giving a social and political history of Britain in the Sixties, has been on my radar for many years. When it finally appeared on kindle, I thought that I could ignore it no longer and decided to finally get around to reading it – I am glad that I did. Although this is the story of the Sixties, it begins in 1956 with the Suez crisis, and ends as the country heads into 1964. Dominic Sandbrook does a wonderful job of incorporating the cultural and the political. He pa [...]


    • This was a great read that covered a wide range of subjects and areas within Mr Sandbrook's first period (1956-63) of his history that will run into the 1980s.The lead up and the eventual Suez crisis (debacle) sets the scene for a Britain that will begin to question its roots, establishment and direction. Mr Sandbrook covers taxes and the strength of Sterling to the prosperity and consumer boom with a growth in disposable income (for some sections and age groups) with a rise in membership of clu [...]


    • The first book about British politics that I read was Lynne Olson's TROUBLESOME YOUNG MEN, which conveyed strongly the sense of Great Britain was a country--at least in the 1930s--ruled by a few hundred people who all went to high school together. Class is just as important in America, to be sure, but America traditionally has been ruled by lots of smaller elite classes (wealthy New England merchants, South Carolina plantation owners, etc.) that never quite identified the same level of common id [...]


    • The first part of Dominic Sandbrook’s history of Britain in the 1960s actually covers 1956-1963. Of course historians these days rarely have a literal view of the calendar (inevitably, we can expect histories of The Noughties to begin on September the 11th, 2001) and given the effect The Suez Crisis had on British prestige, it seems sensible to begin there. Even so there’s a lot of context which needs to be built in, and for the early part of the book George Orwell – who died in 1950 – i [...]


    • I was worried when I started this book--more than 700 pages on such a short period of time. I'm used to massive histories--but not usually on such a small period of time. But Sandbrook did an excellent job. I criticized a book I read recently for the strange way it jumped from cultural to political and back. Sandbrook manages to show the entanglement of the two in a much more vivid way.


    • Although this is too long (at times the chapters on cultural history feel like the author simply wrote down everything he extracted from a primary source), it’s still a very well-knitted together history of the period. In practice, the book builds in enough context from the immediate post-WWII period to explain the psychology around Suez and the initial application to join the EEC, and makes sense of how domestic politics unfolded during the period. It’s probably at its strongest in drawing [...]


    • A thoroughly entertaining book. Having grown up in the period described in the book, From Suez to The Beatles, and having read quite a number of varied histories of the period I thought I was well up on it. I have to say that Dominic Sandbrook has shattered that illusion completely. This is another slant on the period, much more objective, not at all jaundiced or emphatic, quite balanced. The book contains a wealth of detail on each of the episodes in describes, which together make up a very det [...]


    • I LOVED this book! I felt as if I was living through everything described. Mr. Sandbrook works very hard to leave no literary or cultural stone unturned.This work of history covers Britain from the Suez Crisis to Dr. Who. It's Sandbrook's ability to interweave all these strands in very readable prose that is so amazing. He covers the administrations of Anthony Eden and Harold MacMillan. He talks about "The Angry Young Men" both on stage and in literature and gives an interesting account of why J [...]


    • I was worried that this was going to be an historical justification for Thatcherism, but Mr Sandbrook managed to keep his political opinions mostly at bay. His dismissing of British New Wave kitchen sink cinema was unfair though and he conveniently overlooked key films such as A Taste Of Honey which countered his argument that they were largely working class, chauvinistic and small c conservative in outlook. The chapter on Profumo was interesting, as he seemed to be trying to deflect the sleaze [...]


    • As an American who has been visiting the UK for almost 30 years this book explained a lot to me. How did Britain start to imitate and resemble the U.S.? When did it become such a consumer society? Why is it so different from other European countries? Never Had it So Good tells the tale and lays the groundwork for the decades to come. The minutiae of everyday life in Britain during this period is examined with humor and insight. History just as I like it. There are three more books in this histor [...]


    • The first of Sandbrook's 'post-war' series, this is well researched, full of detail and covers a diverse array of material. It escapes the fixation of many history books with politics (I had to wait a long time for an account of the Profumo Affair) although gives creditable coverage. The sections on culture and social history are interesting and the book is a better read for the fact that it has a mild thesis running through it (that of challenging the belief that changes in social attitudes and [...]


    • A superbly detailed account of the years 1956 to 1963/4 covering British politics, culture, literature, film, music and social change. Highly informative and written in a fluent, compelling style.


    • excellent read, very informative on the period of Britain the book covers. A mix of politics and culture of the times.Sandbrooks books are never a dull affair


    • Dominic Sandbrook set out to write a large book recounting British history during the 1960s, but was faced with the problem of determining at which point to start. The obvious answer might have seemed to be either 1960 or 1961. History is, however, a continuum rather than am infinite series of discrete episodes, and Sandbrook decided that he needed to go back into the previous decade in order to set the appropriate context. As a consequence, he ended up writing two huge books, the first of which [...]


    • It's very rare for my "main" book to take me a month to read. This was often fascinating, but very long, and at times felt a slog. But definitely worth it for the way it deepened my understanding of topics such as Suez and the Profumo affair just enough for my level of interest, in a fairly compact package. Sandbrook's writing, as always, is easy to read and often very witty.


    • I love reading political/social histories. I picked this one up in a charity shop for a couple of quid. This book was especially enjoyable as I was alive for half of the period covered (albeit very young). Very interesting was one theme from the late 1950's which is currently very relevant and that is the gap between the metropolitan elite and the governed especially on the left. It is not just a modern phenomenon, it was happening in the 1950's. Overall an excellent book and I'm looking forward [...]


    • This is the first in Sandbrook’s four book series on the history of Britain from Suez to Thatcher. Having first read “Seasons in the Sun”, the fourth in the series, it is clear that he had not quite found his stride or rhythm when writing “Never Had It So Good”. He rather overplays his attempts to evoke “what it was really like” living in Britain in the late fifties and early sixties although there are a number of telling vignettes which resonated with me (born 1962). He is general [...]


    • You can read this after Call the Midwife, because they go together. Sandbrook's monumental history of Britain from 1956 to 1962 explores whether, and how, Britain had "never had it so good" - how Britain emerged from the austerity of the war years into a world of consumerism and the stirrings of change. But - as Jennifer Worth shows us - not everyone had it so good. Sandbrook also balances his social history with his political history very well, and relates complicated events like the Suez crisi [...]


    • A large but very readable book. The chapters follow a logical sequence that cover many different aspects of the social history of Britain from 1956 to the end of 1963. I am sure if a reader was just interested in the politics or the entertainment of the period they could still enjoy just reading the relevant chapters. A balanced presentation of the facts with out getting caught up in the hype/spin and myth of the period. If this period of British history interests you then I really recommend thi [...]


    • Dominic Sandbrook has written an entertaining and complete history of the late 1950s and early 1960s in Britain (from the Suez crisis to the coming of the Beatles). This is my favorite time and place to read about. It was a time when the old ways in Britain were being left behind (a good and bad thing), and the foundations for the upheavals of the 60s were being lain down.I used this book a bit when researching and writing my novel, To Save the Realm, which is set in London and Somerset in 1959. [...]


    • He works the old 'continuity vs. change' cliché almost to death, and it's wearying to find, at the end of almost every chapter, some kind of reaffirmation of the fundamental small-c conservatism of British society. In fact he's weak on social developments as a whole, tending to look at the mass of the people mainly in terms of their behaviour as consumers. It's telling that the longest chapter in the entire book is the one about pop music.


    • Having watched BBC2's series on the 70's, I sought out Sandbrook's literary output. Like the documentary, the book is an elegantly written and engaging mixture of social and political history, giving a detailed feeling for the times, but without the obvious bias modern histories frequently exhibit. The depth of research is impressive: even in those areas where I was already knowledgeable, such as the history of The Beatles, Sandbrook managed to serve up snippets that were new to me.


    • I enjoyed it because I like reading history and this book covered a period of my childhood so it was lived history where I could compare the author's descriptions with my own memories. It's well-written and easy to read. Particularly strong on social and cultural history although sometimes spent far too long on some aspects of popular culture (albeit important aspects) e.g. the Beatles (well trod territory) and James Bond (far too much detail - virtually a fan's eye view).


    • I spent weeks finishing this book as background reading for school study .A very inspiring book indeed,provides its reader details of British cultural life in various aspects,a lively and quite convincing sketch of Britain in 1957-1964:a country who "had lost an Empire but not yet found a role",becoming both richer and pooer,struggling between tradition and modern,old and new,pragmatic and highbrow,its culture flourishing and degrading,and huge change was in preparation.


    • This was an interesting and quite in-depth history of Britain between 1956 and 1964. I found the political elements enlightening, removing some of the preconceptions, both positive and negative that I had. It is a long book and certain elements are covered in rather too much detail, but I guess it is is always hard to pitch. Definitely recommended.


    • Excellent book and certainly one of the best to cover the history of the 20th century; despite it only covering the years 1956-63. You can't fault Dominic Sandbrook on his extremely extensive research of this fascinating era of British history. I must try to find and read his other books.


    • Packed with interesting facts. Particularly liked the chapters on spies (including James Bond), Suez, and the completely fascinating account of the machinations behind Home's winning the Tory Party leaderhsip battle.


    • A brilliantly written social history. Full of humour and little-known (well quite a few not known by me, anyhow!) facts as well as all the stuff everybody's heard about. Can't wait to get started on White Heat.


    • I love Dominic Sandbrook - his detailed and narrative writing about Britain in the 60s brought my childhood and teenage life flooding back. I am so grateful for him for writing the book. And as an Oxford scholar he is also accurate and reliable.


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