In Hope and Glory, Stuart goes in search of the places, people and events of the century we have just left behind that have shaped the look and character of modern Britain. From the death of Victoria to the demise of New Labour, he takes a single event from each decade of the 20th century that offers up a defining moment in our history and then goes in search of its legacy today. The death of a queen, a bloody war, a nation on strike, a first broadcast, a ship coming into land, reaching for the top of the world, an epic football match, a youth rebellion, a pop concert and an election – each event in turn has shaped our national culture and spirit to make us who we are. Some were glorious days, some tragic, even shameful, but each has played its part – from sport to music, politics to war, industrial relations to exploration – in making modern Britain. 1901 – the death of Victoria and the rise of British women; 1916 - the First World War in the national psyche; 1926 - the General Strike and industrial conflict; 1936 – how the British invented television; 1948 – the docking of the Empire Windrush and multi-cultural Britain; 1953 – Edmund Hillary’s ascent of Everest and the tradition of British adventure; 1966 – how we won the World Cup and our continued obsession with the game we gave the world; 1977 – Royalists and Rebels, the Queen’s Silver Jubilee and the rise of punk; 1985 – how Live Aid gave birth to celebrity culture; 1997 – the rise and fall of Blair’s spin revolution.
©2011 Stuart Maconie (P)2011 Random House Audio Go
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I've read other Stuart Maconie books, but this is far and away the best. The way that Stuart has chosed a day per decade then woven in all the other historical facts and stories leading up to and beyond the selected event can only be described as masterful. I enjoyed it so much that I was disappointed to get to the end. If you want a good (and very funny in parts) overview of history of the 20th century then download this
"The History they don't tell you about"
This is a social history of the 20th Century. I suppose a lot depends on wether you like Stuart Maconie.
I do. It tells you a lot about what happened in the last century and how it effects life today.
It's frightening to think of some of the things he describes happened within living memory.
It really makes you think. But it's not boring or dusty history. It's very entertaining and funny as well.
I highly recommend it.
"Maconie 'strikes' again!"
Loved listening to this book but I must admit to sharing Mr Maconie's political views. I think some of the more more right wing inclined listeners will not enjoy or agree with some of the views expressed but regardless, it is still a fascinating listen and gives an alternative opinion to some of the key events the in the last century than that expressed in the tabloids.
Highy recommended and a great follow-up to 'Pies and Prejudice'.
"British history... with a Teacake and a Cuppa!"
I really enjoyed Mr Maconie's 'down to earth' history lesson. It can be enjoyed as a relaxing listen or a summary of the inspiring scale of British achievement; and on the odd occasion... failure.
It is very well written and narrated by Stuart, but can infrequently be a little melancholic. I am from Northern England, so the narration is rather self indulgent, but it will be enjoyed by all who are interested in easily accessible and insightful history of pivotal events in Britain's rich history.
The depth of Stuart's 'researches' are evident and really do make the book all the more enjoyable and ensure that you maintain complete interest from start to finish. Well done SMc!!!
"Good but heavy going in some places"
Yes, it's a great collection of stories and travelogues, in service of a good overall idea.
It's not fiction so no characters.
He's best as himself.
It made me laugh quite a few times and was depressing in others - there's a lot of material here, both light and dark.
I'd avoided this book in the bookshops as it looked a bit worthy and was timed around the 2012 olympics and a lot of very iffy 'national story of Britain' books. However, Maconie is a better writer than most and his commitment to his concept here is very good. The idea is to go through 10 'key days' in the last 100 years of British history, and the critical events that happened on those days. It covers everything from the suffrage movement to the 1966 world cup and Live Aid. It's a mixture of travelogue and essay in each chapter, and is well written and well read. The only major issue is that some of the chapters - around the first world war, the crushing of the miner's strikes etc is very consistently downbeat and can be wearing to listen to for long periods.
"Blatantly Left Wing"
A more middle ground account of Britain
All left wing bias
This book is quite listenable until it becomes obvious that Maconie is very left wing biased.
It seems to be a typical northerners' account of life, creating a gulf between north and south when none should exist.
Now Maconie is a successful author I wonder how REALLY left wing he is now.
This was a fantastic book. I much enjoyed the narration by the author and felt that his reading his own words made them all the more powerful. I think it helps that I am of the same generation as Stuart Maconie and therefore many of the cultural references were relevant to me particularly the sections on the1997 general election and on trade unions and the miners' strike. I was left with the feeling that when I am on a day out I would like to take the author along with me as be finds out the most interesting facts.
"Enjoyed it despite myself"
This is well-researched, well-written and well-narrated. I have to confess that my own politics are almost diametrically opposed to Mr Maconie's, and one or two things did grate, but for anyone interested in recent political and social history of the UK, this book is a must have.
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