In the cold, dark summer of 1981, crowds gathering in Britain's streets could mean a royal wedding - or a riot. Margaret Thatcher's government, taking power on a promise of renewal, seemed in catastrophic decline. Britain remained troubled, inward-looking, run down by recession, transfixed by the threat of nuclear war. Yet, within this bleak landscape, something was stirring.
Promised You A Miracle is the extraordinary untold story of Britain's revolution in the head: a shift in mass consciousness in which an old, self-doubting nation was transformed into something else: outward-looking, materialistic, colourful, lonely and cruel. In the early eighties, a new world was messily brought into being: a miner's son transformed the rubble-strewn flatness of London's docklands into a new city centre of high rise and high finance; austere post-punk bands abandoned their leftwing politics and grey overcoats for glossy transatlantic careers; a loose-tongued, PR-savvy young socialist seized London's city hall; and a small start-up in west Yorkshire, in the middle of the Falklands war, made a gadget the size of a gold bar that stopped the British task force from being blown apart.
Leading us into these years of brittle optimism and upheaval, Andy Beckett asks why Britain changed so rapidly and fundamentally; what it felt like to be part of this convulsive change - or to be left behind; and how people were swept up in it, sometimes without realising. Yet the effects of this revolution would ripple outwards, across the world - and we are still living with the consequences, happily or otherwise.