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Books Editorial

modernitybook.jpg Modernity Britain: 1959-62

David Kynaston, Bloomsbury Publishing, £25

David Kynaston’s magnificent history series, in which he’s recording the changing socio-political face of Britain from 1945 to 1979, reaches the sixties. The nation wasn’t quite swinging just yet, however; not unless you count the swinging wrecking balls which were cutting a swathe across the land, demolishing housing estates in their wake, with a significant percentage of the populous being asked to move into high rise flats. In the north-east T. Dan Smith was is in his pomp and promising to turn Newcastle into a Venice of the North (with ring-roads instead of canals), as well as heading up a council meeting which took only 19 minutes of debate to decide to pull down Grainger and Dobson’s magnificent Eldon Square, in favour of a new shopping centre. As ever, the author has drawn on a rich collection of diaries, letters and newspapers to give us a real flavour of the era - which featured The Lady Chatterley trial, the debut of Coronation Street, and the introduction of the first flavoured crisps in the UK (cheese and onion) – and golden nuggets of information simply tumble forth from every page.