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The early 1980s were the most dramatic, colourful and controversial in our modern history. Margaret Thatcher had come to power with a daring plan to reverse Britain's decline into shabbiness and chaos. But as factories closed their doors, dole queues lengthened and the inner cities exploded in flames, would her harsh medicine rescue the Sick Man of Europe - or kill it off?
Evocative, surprising and gloriously entertaining, Dominic Sandbrook's new book recreates the great turning point in Britain's modern history. For some people this was an age of unparalleled opportunity, the heyday of computers and credit cards, snooker, Sloane Rangers and Spandau Ballet.
But as industries collapsed, working-class communities buckled and the Labour Party tore itself apart, it was also an age of extraordinary acrimony. And when Argentine forces seized the Falklands, it seemed the final humiliation for a deeply divided country.
Here are the early 1980s in all their gaudy glory: Tony Benn, Ken Livingstone, Ian Botham and Princess Diana. Here are Joy Division, Chariots of Fire, the Austin Metro and Juliet Bravo; wine bars, Cruise missiles, the battle of Goose Green and the ZX Spectrum. And towering above them all, the most controversial Prime Minister in our modern history - the Iron Lady.
© 2019, Dominic Sandbrook (P) 2019 Penguin Audio
Like its predecessors, Who Dares Wins is a rich mixture of political narrative and social reportage. It is scholarly, accessible, well written, witty and incisive. It fizzes with character and anecdote ... Superb.
Magisterial ... If anyone wants to know what has been happening to Britain since the 1950s, it is difficult to imagine a more informative, or better-humoured guide ... a Thucydidean coolness, balance and wisdom that is superb.
Superb ... Immaculately well-researched, breathtakingly broad and beautifully written. One defies anyone, even a specialist, not to learn something from it ... Sandbrook leaves the reader impatient for the next volume.
Painstaking, enjoyable, even-handed ... you may feel a nice balance of piquancy and poignancy in having those years brought to life by the historian's magic wand.
Brilliant ... The political manoeuvrings of 1979-82 are traced with a novelistic verve that would have done credit to House of Cards.
Dominic Sandbrook's great chronicle of Britain locates the big political narrative always in a wider social context than just by-election swings and Westminster roundabouts ... It all comes flooding back.
This is vividly panoramic history, ranging from high affairs of state to the tiniest textural details of everyday life ... His sources are joyously eclectic ... We wait impatiently for the next course of this richly satisfying historical feast.
A magnificent history ... Who Dares Wins captures the period with clairvoyant vividness. Compulsively readable, the book will be indispensable to anyone who wants to understand these pivotal years.
Masterful, mammoth ... rich and rewarding ... One of the book's great strengths is that although we know how the story will end we are still kept in suspense - not because of doubts over the outcome, but because Sandbrook situates the reader firmly back in those crucial years ... The result is a full and rich account of the period.
Worth every penny, an enjoyable romp ... It's a great read.