Publication Date: 06/10/2022 ISBN: 9781786496676 Category:

The Reign – Life in Elizabeth’s Britain

Matthew Engel

Publisher: Atlantic Books
Publication Date: 06/10/2022 ISBN: 9781786496676 Category:


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***A Waterstones Best Books of 2022 pick***

Book of the Year in the Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph and New Statesman

‘A powerful illumination of a lost world that is nevertheless part of living memory.’ Simon Heffer, ‘Books of the Year’ , Daily Telegraph

‘A joyous new book on post-war Britain.’ Daily Mail

She came to the throne in 1952 when Britain had a far-flung empire, Winston Churchill was prime minister, sweets were rationed, mums stayed at home and kids played on bombsites. In the seventy years that followed everything changed utterly – except the Queen herself, ageing far more gracefully than the fractious nation with which she became synonymous.

While the Queen is the motif for this book, the story Engel tells is not about her – it is primarily about the British. Through original research, interviews with people who were there and his own memories of the time, Matthew Engel traces the transformation of life in Britain as never before.

Beginning with the death of King George VI and ending on the eve of Margaret Thatcher’s election, Engel not only covers all the major historical events but also explores everyday life – from the food we ate and where we shopped, to what we watched on television and the newspapers we read. In doing so, he brings these three decades to life with his own light touch and a wealth of fascinating, forgotten, often funny detail.

Publisher Review

Full of richly revealing stories and quotidian detail, laced with incisive but humane judgements, and never missing the big picture of a country where the pace of social change was rapidly quickening - Matthew Engel has given us a tour de force about post-war Britain which delights and illuminates on every page. -- David Kynaston A pure delight. There is a gem on every page. -- Peter Hennessy Wry, rueful, funny... The most enjoyable commentary on today's England that could be imagined. * Sunday Times on Engel's England * Immensely enjoyable... Engel is a wonderfully wry comic writer. * Guardian on Engel's England * [Engel] has managed to do the seemingly impossible and find a new way to write about England... The great pleasure in the book - for Engel as much as the reader - is in his love of the entertaining factual nugget. * Financial Times on Engel's England * If you could bottle his wit, it would taste as sharp, rich and savoury as Worcestershire sauce on a Cornish pasty stuffed to bursting. * The Times on Engel's England * Highly personal and very funny. * London Review of Books on Engel's England *

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