Suggested Reading List
Diana: Closely Guarded Secret
Author: Robert Jobsonn and Ken Whafe
Description: Inspector Ken Whafe, the first royalty protection officer to publish a memoir, was a crucial figure in Princes Diana's life. This account represents the most intimate portrait of Diana to date.
From the Bomb to the Beatles
Author: Judith Gardiner
Description: Published in conjunction with the exhibition of the same name at the Imperial War Museum. Traces the country's social and cultural history from the end of the 2WW to the Swinging 60s and the impact of the Beatles in an era of youth power and affluent consumerism.
Author: Arthur Marwick
Never Again; Britain 1945-1951
Author: Peter Hennessy
The People's Peace: British History, 1945-1989
Author: Kenneth O. Morgan
Hope and Glory: Britain 1900-1990
Author: Peter Clarke
The British Experience: 1945-75
Author: Peter Calvocoressi
Distilling the Frenzy: Writing the history of one's own times
Author: Peter Hennessy
Description: Britain's leading contemporary historian revisits and expounds upon the grand themes that have run throughout twentieth and twenty first century Britain, including the abiding trends of the postwar era - Britain's persistent impulse to punch well above its weight in the world; the sustenance of a nuclear weapons policy which has accompanied that impulse and the secrecy that has too often concealed it; the contrasting styles and achievements of post-war prime ministers from Attlee to Cameron; the successes and failures of major constitutional reform. As importantly, in Distilling the Frenzy a genuine heavyweight of British scholarship lays bear the contemporary historian's art for all to see, exposing the fine line between observation and felt experience, whilst incorporating elements of autobiography that gives the book a poignancy thaat is lacking in other grand historial works. This is the story of Britain's century through the eyes of it's most celebrated chronicler. A major work of our time.
White Heat: 1964-1970 Vol 2 A History of Britain in the Swinging Sixties
Author: Dominic Sandbrook
Description: Harold Wilson's famous reference to 'white heat' captured the optimistic spirit of a society in the midst of breathtaking change. From the gaudy pleasures of Swinging London to the tragic bloodshed in Northern Ireland, from the intrigues of Westminster to the drama of the World Cup, British life seemed to have taken on a dramatic new momentum. The memories, images and colourful personalities of those heady times still resonate today: mop-tops and mini-skirts, strikes and demonstrations, Carnaby Street and Kings Road, Harold Wilson and Edward Heath, Mary Quant and Jean Shrimpton, Enoch Powell and Mary Whitehouse, Marianne Faithfull and Mick Jagger. In this wonderfully rich and readable historical narrative, Dominic Sandbrook looks behind the myths of the Swinging Sixties to unearth the contradictions of a society caught between optimism and decline.
Author: Never Had it So Good: A History of Britain from Suez to the Beatles
Description: In 1956 the Suez Crisis finally shattered the old myths of the British Empire and paved the way for the tumultuous changes of the decades to come. In NEVER HAD IT SO GOOD, Dominic Sandbrook takes a fresh look at the dramatic story of affluence and decline between 1956 and 1963. Arguing that historians have until now been besotted by the supposed cultural revolution of the Sixties, Sandbrook re-examines the myths of this controversial period and paints a more complicated picture of a society caught between conservatism and change. He explores the growth of a modern consumer society, the impact of immigration, the invention of modern pop music and the British retreat from empire. He tells the story of the colourful characters of the period, like Harold Macmillan, Kingsley Amis and Paul McCartney, and brings to life the experience of the first post-imperial generation, from the Notting Hill riots to the first Beatles hits, from the Profumo scandal to the cult of James Bond. In this strikingly impressive debut, he combines academic verve and insight with colourful, dramatic writing to produce a classic, ground-breaking work that will change forever how we think about the Sixties.
The Beatles: The Authorised Biography
Author: Hunter Davies
Description: Utterly classic (and only authorised) biography of the Fab Four.
Revolution in the Head: "Beatles" Records and the Sixties
Author: Ian Macdonald
Description: "MacDonald's inspired critique has become the work against which all other Beatles books are measured."
"Arguably the most indispensable Beatles book ever published has just become more indispensable."
"A triumph -- compelling, seductive, delightful."
Can't Buy Me Love: The Beatles, Britain, and America
Author: Jonathan Gould
Description: Jonathan Gould's Can't Buy Me Love is more than just a book on the Beatles; it's a stunning recreation of the 1960s in England and America through the prism of the world's most iconic band. The Beatles, perhaps more than any act before or since, were a quintessential product of their time, and Gould brilliantly blends cultural history, musical analysis and group biography to show the unique part they played in the shaping of post-war Britain and America. Gould examines the influence of R&B, rockabilly, skiffle and Motown as the Fab Four forged a sound of their own; he illuminates the mercurial relationship the most productive and lucrative in recording music history between John Lennon and Paul McCartney; he critiques the songs they played and the movies they made, and their impact on competing bands and musicians, as well as on fashion, hairstyles, and humour; and he shows how events on both sides of the Atlantic created exactly the right cultural climate for the biggest music phenomenon of 20th century. Beautifully written, insightful, and wonderfully evocative, this is a magisterial biography by a popular historian of the very first rank.
The Longest Cocktail Party: An Insider's Diary of the Beatles, Their Million-dollar Apple Empire and Its Wild Rise and Fall
Author: Richard DiLello
Description: When American teenager, Richard DiLello, wandered into the Beatles' Apple building in 1968, he was immediately appointed 'house hippie'; he began making tea, rolling joints and listening to dozens of demo tapes. By the time Apple crumbled a few years later he was director of public relations. Along the way he noted many of the stoned conversations he heard and the insane bits of business he witnessed: one-man bands auditioning in the reception, Hell's Angels taking over Savile Row and The Beatles playing on the roof. Full of period detail, The Longest Cocktail Party is fast-paced, witty and immensely poignant about the demise of the Fab Four and the death of the '60s dream.
Author: Edward Rutherfurd
Description: Available in audio-cassette form: ISBN 0679443819 - fiction but gives a real feel for the period. London has perhaps the most remarkable history of any city in the world. Now, its story has a unique voice. In this epic novel, Edward Rutherfurd takes the reader on a magnificent journey across sixteen centuries from the days of the Romans to the Victorian engineers of Tower Bridge and the era of Dockland development today. Through the lives and adventures of his colourful cast of characters, he brings all the richness of London's past unforgettably to life.
London - The Biography
Author: Peter Ackroyd
Description: Probably there is no one better placed than Ackroyd--the author of mammoth lives of Dickens and Blake, and novels such as Hawksmoor and Dan Leno and the Lime House Golem which set singular characters against the backdrop of a city constantly shifting in time--to write such a rich, sinewy account of "Infinite London".
Ackroyd's London is no mere chronology. Its chapters take on such varied themes as drinking, sex, childhood, poverty, crime and punishment, sewage, food, pestilence and fire, immigration, maps, theatre and war. We learn that gin was "the demon of London for half a century", and that "it has been estimated that in the 1740s and 1750s there were 17,000 'gin-houses'." Fleet Street was an area known for its "violent delights" where "a 14-year-old boy, only 18 inches high, was to be seen in 1702 at a grocer's shop called the Eagle and Child by Shoe Lane." By the mid 19th century "London had become known as the greatest city on earth." By 1939 "one in five of the British population had become a Londoner."
London A Social History
Author: Roy Porter
Description: 'Roy Porter, a historian of formidable range, turns to urban history in this marvellously lucid, informative and passionate book... Porter's facts are always at the service of the narrative, which has a finely maintained momentum, balancing statistics with the words of historians, diarists and novelists, poets and churchmen: Pepys, Boswell, Fielding, Walpole, Blake, Mayhew, Wells, Woolf, Spark, ... a timely and brilliant book.' CLAIRE TOMALIN, EVENING STANDARD 'A vivid celebration of the city, but also an elegy for its decline, bubbling with statistics and anecdote, from Boadicea to Betjeman.' RICHARD HOLMES, DAILY TELEGRAPH BOOKS OF THE YEAR