Fighting for Life

Fighting for Life

The Twelve Battles that Made Our NHS, and the Struggle for Its Future


Brought to you by Penguin.

A gripping, provocative exploration of the National Health Service, told through the most critical moments in its history, and published ahead of the 75th anniversary of its foundation.

Since its foundation in 1948, the NHS has been a cornerstone of British life - we are born into it, we are looked after by it, and quite often we die in it. From the sexual revolution of the 60s to the first test tube baby, from the Mental Health Act to the Coronavirus crisis, it has made history again and again - shaping our society and culture.

But the NHS has also become a battleground for some of the fiercest political contests of our time; variously perceived as a national treasure that needs to be preserved at all costs, and as a lumbering piece of state machinery in need of renovation. In Fighting for Life award-winning journalist Isabel Hardman tells the story of a beloved institution through the people who keep it alive - its nurses, its doctors, its patients and the politicians who decide its fate.

With her trademark acuity she tells a story that is by turns uplifting and inspiring, and shocking and alarming. Cutting through sentimentality and sloganeering on all sides of the political spectrum, she shows us how our NHS really works, and what it means for our future.

© Isabel Hardman 2023 (P) Penguin Audio 2023

About the author

Isabel Hardman

Isabel Hardman is the Assistant Editor of the Spectator and also presents Radio 4's Week in Westminster. In 2015 she was named the youngest ever Political Journalist of the Year by the Political Studies Association. She appears regularly on TV and radio, including Have I Got News for You, The Andrew Marr Show, The News Quiz, Today programme, Question Time and Sky News. She also writes columns for The Times, The Guardian, The Sun, The Observer, Evening Standard, and the Daily Telegraph.
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