Winner of the Orwell Prize for Political Writing, Peter Hennessy's Having it So Good: Britain in the Fifties captures Britain in an extraordinary decade, emerging from the shadow of war into growing affluence.
The 1950s was the decade in which Roger Bannister ran the four-minute mile, Bill Haley released 'Rock Around the Clock', rationing ended and Britain embarked on the traumatic, disastrous Suez War.
In this highly enjoyable, original book, Peter Hennessy takes his readers into front rooms, classrooms, cabinet rooms and the new high-street coffee bars of Britain to recapture, as no previous history has, the feel, the flavour and the politics of this extraordinary time of change.
'Utterly engaging ... a treat. It breathes exhilaration'
Libby Purves, The Times
'If the Gods gossip, this is how it would sound'
Philip Ziegler, Spectator Books of the Year
'A particular treat ... fine, wise and meticulously researched'
'Stands clear of the field as our best narrative history of this decisive decade'
Peter Clarke, Sunday Times
'A compelling narrative ... Hennessy's love of the flesh and blood of politics breathes on every page'
Tim Gardam, Observer
'The late Ben Pimlott once described Hennessy as "something of a national institution". You can forget the first two of those five words'
Peter Hennessy is Attlee Professor of History at Queen Mary College, London, and the Director of the Mile End Institute of Contemporary British Government, Intelligence and Society. He is the author of Never Again: Britain 1945-51 (winner of the NCR and Duff Cooper Prizes), Having it So Good: Britain in the Fifties (winner of the Orwell Prize); the bestselling The Prime Minister and The Secret State.