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New Statesman debate at Cambridge Literary Festival

April 22, 2024

The historian David Kynaston has written some of the most readable and most read books of the past fifteen years. His ‘New Jerusalem’ series set out to describe Britain between Attlee coming to power in 1945 and Thatcher’s election in 1979. The fourth volume, ‘A Northern Wind’, covers the period from 1962 to 1965 – from the Cuban missile crisis to the death of Winston Churchill. The events tumble over each other – the Big Freeze, the Profumo scandal, the Great Train Robbery, the assassination of President Kennedy, mods v. rockers. The cast of characters includes Keeler, Cassius Clay, Harold Wilson, the Beatles, Twiggy and James Bond. Kynaston reconstructs the period through a patchwork of voices; diaries, Mass Observation, TV and radio programmes as well as letters and memoirs.

I was privileged to Chair David Kynaston’s event and can’t recommend the book highly enough.

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