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David Kynaston - Author

About the Author

David Kynaston was born in Aldershot in 1951. He has been a professional historian since 1973 and has written fifteen books, including The City of London, a widely acclaimed four-volume history, and W.G.’s Birthday Party, an account of the Gentleman vs. the Players at Lord’s in July 1898. He is currently a visiting professor at Kingston University.

Austerity Britain, the first in David Kynaston’s four-part history of Britain from 1945-1979, was published by Bloomsbury to absolutely unprecedented acclaim on 7th May 2007.  Family Britain, published by Bloomsbury in November 2009 and in paperback in May 2010, offers an unrivalled take on a largely cohesive, ordered, still very hierarchical society gratefully starting to move away from the painful hardships of the 1940s towards domestic ease and affluence.

Featured books by David Kynaston

Modernity Britain Book Two: A Shake of the Dice, 1959-62

Modernity Britain Book Two: A Shake of the Dice, 1959-62

Author: David Kynaston Format: Hardback Release Date: 11/09/2014

David Kynaston's history of post-war Britain has so far taken us from the radically reforming Labour governments of the late 1940s in Austerity Britain, through the growing prosperity of Family Britain's more placid 1950s, to the very cusp of the 1960s and the coming of a new Zeitgeist in Modernity Britain. The first part, Opening the Box, 1957-59, plotted the main themes of the new spirit of the age. Now, in part two - A Shake of the Dice, 1959-62 - through a rich haul of diaries, letters, newspapers and many other sources, Kynaston gets up close to a turbulent era as the speed of social change accelerated. By 1959 consumerism was inexorably taking hold (stripes for Signal toothpaste, flavours for potato crisps), relative economic decline was becoming the staple of political discourse (entry into Europe increasingly seen as our salvation), immigration was turning into an ever-hotter issue (the controversial coming of controls), traditional norms of morality were perceived as under serious threat (Lady Chatterley's Lover freely on sale after the famous case), and traditional working-class culture was changing (wakes weeks in decline, the end of the maximum wage for footballers) even as Coronation Street established itself as a national institution. The greatest shake of the dice, though, concerned urban redevelopment: city centres were being yanked into the age of the motor car, slum clearance was intensified, and the skyline became studded with brutalist high-rise boxes. Some of this transformation was necessary, but too much would destroy communities and leave a harsh, fateful legacy. This profoundly important story of the period of transformation from the old to the brink of a new world is now told brilliantly and in full for the first time.

ebook of the month

Other books by David Kynaston

Shots in the Dark

Shots in the Dark

Author: David Kynaston Format: Hardback Release Date: 06/08/2020

Brimming with wisdom and humour, David Kynaston's diaries written over one football season offer up his most personal take on social history to date. David Kynaston was seven and a half years old when he attended his first Aldershot match in the early months of 1959. So began a deep attachment to the game and a lifelong loyalty to an obscure, small-town football club. Though as he sits down to write his diaries almost sixty years on, he reflects that life might have been simpler if his father had never taken him to that first match at the Rec... Shots in the Dark is the diary David Kynaston kept in the football season of 2016/17, detailing the ups and downs of the 'Shots' in the year that saw a divisive referendum in the UK and the impending ascension of Donald Trump. Here Kynaston presents a social history of modern Britain with a difference - all through the prism of the beautiful game. A testament to the ways in which fandom gives solidity and security to our lives, particularly in these bewildering and rapidly changing times, Shots in the Dark gets to the heart of what it means to be a devoted follower of a sports team. This is a diary of the macro and the micro, as questions of loyalty, of identity, of liberalism and of nationalism all rub uncomfortably up against each other during nine charged months.

King Labour

King Labour

Author: David Kynaston Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 13/05/2020

First published in 1976. This book covers working-class history from the decline of Chartism to the formation of the Labour Party and its early development to 1914. It gives a historical perspective to the essentially defensive, materialist orientation of twentieth century working-class politics. David Kynaston has sought to synthesise the wealth of recent detailed research to produce a coherent overall view of the particular dynamic of these formative years. He sees the course of working-class history in the second half of the nineteenth century as a necessary tragedy and suggests that a major reason for this was the inability of William Morris as a revolutionary socialist to influence organised labour. The treatment is thematic as much as chronological and special attention is given not only to the parliamentary rise of Labour, but also to deeper-lying intellectual, occupational, residential, religious, and cultural influences. The text itself includes a substantial amount of contemporary material in order to reflect the distinctive 'feel' of the period. The book is particularly designed for students studying the political, social and economic background to modern Britain as well as those specialising in nineteenth-century English history.

Till Time's Last Sand

Till Time's Last Sand

Author: David Kynaston Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 06/02/2020

'An exemplary narrative history, with the archives plundered judiciously ... [Kynaston's] portrait of a globally influential institution is, in characteristic style, rendered on an entertainingly human scale' The Times 'Not an ordinary bank, but a great engine of state,' Adam Smith declared of the Bank of England in 1776, which for over 320 years has been central to British history. Yet to most people, despite its increasingly high profile, its history is largely unknown. Till Time's Last Sand is the first authoritative and accessible single-volume history of the Bank of England, from the Bank's founding in 1694 to Mark Carney's appointment as Governor in 2013. This history addresses the important debates about the Bank's purpose and modes of operation. Yet this is also a narrative that does full justice to the leading episodes and characters of the Bank, while taking care to evoke a real sense of the place itself, with its often distinctively domestic side. Deploying an array of piquant and revealing material from the Bank's rich archives, this is a multi-layered and insightful portrait of one of our most important national institutions, from one of our leading historians.

Engines of Privilege

Engines of Privilege

Author: David Kynaston, Francis Green Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 19/09/2019

'We can expect the manifesto-writers at the next general election to pass magpie-like over these chapters ... The appeal to act is heartfelt' Financial Times Includes a new chapter, 'Moving Ahead?' Britain's private, fee-paying schools are institutions where children from affluent families have their privileges further entrenched through a high-quality, richly-resourced education. Engines of Privilege contends that, in a society that mouths the virtues of equality of opportunity, of fairness and of social cohesion, the educational apartheid separating private schools from our state schools deploys our national educational resources unfairly; blocks social mobility; reproduces privilege down the generations; and underpins a damaging democratic deficit in our society. Francis Green and David Kynaston carefully examine options for change, while drawing on the valuable lessons of history. Clear, vigorous prose is combined with forensic analysis to powerful effect, illuminating the painful contrast between the importance of private schools in British society and the near-absence of serious, policy-shaping debate.

Engines of Privilege

Engines of Privilege

Author: David Kynaston, Francis Green Format: Hardback Release Date: 07/02/2019

Britain's private, fee-paying schools are institutions where children from affluent families have their privileges further entrenched through a high-quality, richly resourced education. There is an irrefutable link between private schools and life's gilded path: private school to top university to top career. Engines of Privilege contends that, in a society that mouths the virtues of equality of opportunity, of fairness and of social cohesion, the educational apartheid separating private schools from our state schools deploys our national educational resources unfairly and inefficiently; blocks social mobility; reproduces privilege down the generations; and underpins a damaging democratic deficit in our society. Intrinsic to any vision of the future of Britain has to be the nature of our educational system. Yet the quality of conversation on the issue of private education remains surprisingly sterile, patchy and highly subjective. Francis Green and David Kynaston carefully examine options for change, while drawing on the valuable lessons of history. Accessible, evidence-based and inclusive, Engines of Privilege aims to kick-start a long overdue national debate. Clear, vigorous prose is combined with forensic analysis to powerful effect, illuminating the painful contrast between the importance of private schools in British society and the near-absence of serious, policy-shaping debate.

King Labour

King Labour

Author: David Kynaston Format: Hardback Release Date: 23/11/2018

First published in 1976. This book covers working-class history from the decline of Chartism to the formation of the Labour Party and its early development to 1914. It gives a historical perspective to the essentially defensive, materialist orientation of twentieth century working-class politics. David Kynaston has sought to synthesise the wealth of recent detailed research to produce a coherent overall view of the particular dynamic of these formative years. He sees the course of working-class history in the second half of the nineteenth century as a necessary tragedy and suggests that a major reason for this was the inability of William Morris as a revolutionary socialist to influence organised labour. The treatment is thematic as much as chronological and special attention is given not only to the parliamentary rise of Labour, but also to deeper-lying intellectual, occupational, residential, religious, and cultural influences. The text itself includes a substantial amount of contemporary material in order to reflect the distinctive 'feel' of the period. The book is particularly designed for students studying the political, social and economic background to modern Britain as well as those specialising in nineteenth-century English history.

Tory Heaven

Tory Heaven

Author: David Kynaston, Marghanita Laski Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 19/04/2018

Till Time's Last Sand

Till Time's Last Sand

Author: David Kynaston Format: Hardback Release Date: 07/09/2017

The authorised history of the Bank of England by the bestselling David Kynaston, 'the most entertaining historian alive' (Spectator). 'Not an ordinary bank, but a great engine of state,' Adam Smith declared of the Bank of England as long ago as 1776. The Bank is now over 320 years old, and throughout almost all that time it has been central to British history. Yet to most people, despite its increasingly high profile, its history is largely unknown. Till Time's Last Sand by David Kynaston is the first authoritative and accessible single-volume history of the Bank of England, opening with the Bank's founding in 1694 in the midst of the English financial revolution and closing in 2013 with Mark Carney succeeding Mervyn King as Governor. This is a history that fully addresses the important debates over the years about the Bank's purpose and modes of operation and that covers such aspects as monetary and exchange-rate policies and relations with government, the City and other central banks. Yet this is also a narrative that does full justice to the leading episodes and characters of the Bank, while taking care to evoke a real sense of the place itself, with its often distinctively domestic side. Deploying an array of piquant and revealing material from the Bank's rich archives, Till Time's Last Sand is a multi-layered and insightful portrait of one of our most important national institutions, from one of our leading historians.

Modernity Britain

Modernity Britain

Author: David Kynaston Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 23/04/2015

David Kynaston's history of post-war Britain has so far taken us from the radically reforming Labour governments of the late 1940s in Austerity Britain and through the growing prosperity of Family Britain's more placid 1950s. Now Modernity Britain 1957-62 sees the coming of a new Zeitgeist as Kynaston gets up close to a turbulent era in which the speed of social change accelerated. The late 1950s to early 1960s was an action-packed, often dramatic time in which the contours of modern Britain began to take shape. These were the 'never had it so good' years, when the Carry On film series got going, and films like Room at the Top and the first soaps like Coronation Street and Z Cars brought the working class to the centre of the national frame; when CND galvanised the progressive middle class; when 'youth' emerged as a cultural force; when the Notting Hill riots made race and immigration an inescapable reality; and when 'meritocracy' became the buzz word of the day. In this period, the traditional norms of morality were perceived as under serious threat (Lady Chatterley's Lover freely on sale after the famous case), and traditional working-class culture was changing (wakes weeks in decline, the end of the maximum wage for footballers). The greatest change, though, concerned urban redevelopment: city centres were being yanked into the age of the motor car, slum clearance was intensified, and the skyline became studded with brutalist high-rise blocks. Some of this transformation was necessary, but too much would destroy communities and leave a harsh, fateful legacy. This profoundly important story of the transformation of Britain as it arrived at the brink of a new world is brilliantly told through diaries, letters newspapers and a rich haul of other sources and published in one magnificent paperback volume for the first time.

Modernity Britain

Modernity Britain

Author: David Kynaston Format: Hardback Release Date: 20/06/2013

The late 1950s was an action-packed, often dramatic time in which the contours of modern Britain began to take shape. These were the 'never had it so good' years, when the Carry On film series and the TV soap Emergency Ward 10 got going, and films like Room at the Top and plays like A Taste of Honey brought the working class to the centre of the national frame; when the urban skyline began irresistibly to go high-rise; when CND galvanised the progressive middle class; when 'youth' emerged as a cultural force; when the Notting Hill riots made race and immigration an inescapable reality; and when 'meritocracy' became the buzz word of the day. The consequences of this 'modernity' zeitgeist, David Kynaston argues, still affect us today.

City of London

City of London

Author: David Kynaston Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/11/2012

David Kynaston's ground-breaking history of the City of London, published in four volumes between 1994 and 2001, is a modern classic. Skilfully edited into a single volume by David Milner, it tells a story as dramatic as any novel, while explaining the mysteries of the financial world in a way that we can all understand. This is a story of booms, busts and bankruptcies, dress codes, eating habits, pay, humour, changing architecture and the unique culture of the Square Mile which brings us up to the modern age.

WG's Birthday Party

WG's Birthday Party

Author: David Kynaston Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 18/04/2011

On a hot morning in July 1898, the sporting world gathered at Lord's to celebrate the fiftieth birthday of WG Grace, the greatest cricketer the game has ever seen. Grace was cheered onto the field by a packed crowd as he captained the Gentlemen, the privileged old guard of the Establishment. Their opponents in this annual match were the Players, cricketers for whom the sport was a precarious livelihood rather than a summer pastime. This three-day encounter represented the climax of cricket's Golden Age, and the unstoppable arrival of the professional game that would dominate the twentieth century. In WG's Birthday Party, David Kynaston tells the story of one of the most thrilling matches in cricketing history, as well as the colourful and sometimes tragically moving lives of the members of both teams. Using the Gentlemen vs Players contest as a lens through which to examine the hierarchy and tensions endemic in cricket at the beginning of the modern era, he presents a lively, moving, richly detailed and massively entertaining portrait of late-Victorian society. It is social history at its most compelling, from 'the most entertaining historian alive' (Spectator).

Family Britain, 1951-1957

Family Britain, 1951-1957

Author: David Kynaston Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 03/05/2010

As in Austerity Britain, an astonishing array of vivid, intimate and unselfconscious voices drive this narrative. The keen-eyed Nella Last shops assiduously at Barrow Market as austerity and rationing gradually give way to relative abundance; housewife Judy Haines, relishing the detail of suburban life, brings up her children in Chingford; and, the self-absorbed civil servant Henry St John perfects the art of grumbling. These and many other voices give a rich, unsentimental picture of everyday life in the 1950s. We also encounter well-known figures on the way, such as Doris Lessing (joining and later leaving the Communist Party), John Arlott (sticking up on Any Questions? for the rights of homosexuals) and Tiger's Roy of the Rovers (making his goal-scoring debut for Melchester). All this is part of a colourful, unfolding tapestry, in which the great national events - the Tories returning to power, the death of George VI, the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth, the Suez Crisis - jostle alongside everything that gave Britain in the 1950s its distinctive flavour: Butlin's holiday camps, Kenwood food mixers, Hancock's Half-Hour , Ekco television sets, Davy Crockett, skiffle and teddy boys. Deeply researched, David Kynaston's Family Britain offers an unrivalled take on a largely cohesive, ordered, still very hierarchical society gratefully starting to move away from the painful hardships of the 1940s towards domestic ease and affluence.

Austerity Britain, 1945-1951

Austerity Britain, 1945-1951

Author: David Kynaston Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 06/10/2008

For the first time, the Sunday Times bestseller Austerity Britain is available in one complete paperback volume. Coursing through Austerity Britain is an astonishing variety of voices - vivid, unselfconscious, and unaware of what the future holds. A Chingford housewife endures the tribulations of rationing; a retired schoolteacher observes during a royal visit how well-fed the Queen looks; a pernickety civil servant in Bristol is oblivious to anyone's troubles but his own. An array of working-class witnesses describe how life in post-war Britain is, with little regard for liberal niceties or the feelings of their 'betters'. Many of these voices will stay with the reader in future volumes, jostling alongside well-known figures like John Arlott (here making his first radio broadcast, still in police uniform), Glenda Jackson (taking the 11+) and Doris Lessing, newly arrived from Africa, struck by the levelling poverty of postwar Britain. David Kynaston weaves a sophisticated narrative of how the victorious 1945 Labour government shaped the political, economic and social landscape for the next three decades.Deeply researched, often amusing and always intensely entertaining and readable, the first volume of David Kynaston's ambitious history offers an entirely fresh perspective on Britain during those six momentous years.

The City Of London Volume 4

The City Of London Volume 4

Author: David Kynaston Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 07/03/2002

The City of London. Vol IV: A Club No More is the fourth and final volume of David Kynaston's epic history of the square mile in the modern era. This lively and informative book takes the story from the post-war era, when the City was hemmed in by bombsites and austere Chancellors, through to very recent developments, such as the Big-Bang deregulation of 1986. This is as much a social history as a financial study, with interesting discussions of the changing class and complexion of the City, and with fascinating details on the early computerisation of the big companies. As with earlier volumes Kynaston's style is that of an anecdotal storyteller. Colourful characters, dramatic boardroom struggles and heated exchanges between politicians and bankers dominate the pages.

The City Of London Volume 3

The City Of London Volume 3

Author: David Kynaston Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/06/2000

Illusions of Gold, the third volume of David Kynaston's magnificent quartet, The City of London, sweeps us from 1914 to 1945, through years of fluctuating fortunes that began with the City at an all-time high, and ended with the 'Square Mile' ravaged by bombs, at its lowest ebb ever. With unerring judgement and story-telling verve, Kynaston takes us through the City's vain attempt to recover the glory days before the First World War, in the return to the Gold Standard. He follows its tussles with government over control of monetary policy, investigates its increasingly important links with British industry and gives a pioneering account of its controversial role in the politics of appeasement. Kynaston's great strength is his combination of vivid narrative with meticulous scholarship, based on an unparalleled variety of unpublished sources. The City of London is now hailed as one of the most ambitious and rewarding historical projects of recent times.

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