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Publisher's Summary

Eyewitness provides a rare and fascinating opportunity to hear the events of the century described by those who saw them happen. A wealth of BBC archive recordings, some never previously broadcast, is interwoven with an illuminating commentary by the historian Joanna Bourke. Published in 10 volumes, Eyewitness examines the role and the life of the British people in each decade of the century.

Conflict in many forms characterised the 1980s: war in the South Atlantic, the miners' strike, social unrest and political polarization. By 1981, unemployment had escalated dramatically and Margaret Thatcher's popularity had plummeted. Victory in the Falklands revived Tory fortunes, but the fact that the Labour Party had rendered itself unelectable also helped. By the 1987 election, although Neil Kinnock had dealt with the hard left, it was not enough to dent Thatcher's majority. Conservative hegemony was assured for the rest of the decade.

Solutions to the Northern Ireland situation remained as elusive as ever. The IRA's Brighton bomb nearly wiped out Thatcher and her cabinet, and stunned the public. But throughout these years, there were moments of celebration. Prince Charles married Lady Diana Spencer in July 1981, and England won the Ashes that summer. The decade ended on a note of hope: reform in the Soviet union spread outwards and in 1989 the Berlin Wall fell. The Cold War was over.

Bystanders, broadcasters, and politicians describe these events and many others. History is heard in the making, for example with the Argentinean storming of the Falklands Broadcasting Station. While the 1980s are too close for a true historical perspective, what emerges here is that this decade was one of the most confrontational periods of the century.

Thought-provoking and moving, these are the voices of the past, speaking to the present.

©2018 BBC Audiobooks Ltd (P)2005 BBC Audiobooks Ltd

Critic Reviews

"...mines the BBC¿s sound archives to produce what will surely become the greatest oral history series..." (The Times)
"A wonderful idea and excellently executed ..best possible use of the medium and a great narrator" (The Independent)

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British History of the 1980s

Any additional comments?

This five hour audio download from Audible Books covers Great Britain during the 1980s. It combines light narration with an abundance of old recordings (mostly interviews, news broadcasts, and speeches) into a quick historical overview of the decade. Loosely strung together by subject, not chronological order, the classic 80???s sound bites offer a colorful sample of past years on the other side of the pond. However, it lacked a serious assessment of the positive and negative effects of the major reforms and policy shifts during the ???Thatcher years,??? a somewhat stunning omission. The tendency of this work to favor the opinions of common football rioters, labor unionists, and left-wing demonstrators, over law enforcement, senior leaders, and historical analysts leaves it lacking depth and feeling rather myopic.

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Another Great Look into the past.

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I would for the history that many might not know about.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Eyewitness, 1980-1989?

I can't pick just one really.

What about Tim Pigott-Smith’s performance did you like?

Everything.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Honestly, no.

Any additional comments?

A must-have for history buffs.