Peter Hennessy is one of Britain's most celebrated historians, 'who has himself become something of a national institution' (Ben Pimlott). He is Attlee Professor of Contemporary British History at Queen Mary University of London. His previous books include this book's two immediate predecessors, Never Again- Britain 1945-51 (1992, winner of the Duff Cooper Prize and the NCR Prize for Non-fiction) and Having it so Good- Britain in the Fifties (2006, winner of the Orwell Prize for Political Writing). His other books include Cabinet (1986), Whitehall (1989), The Prime Minister- The Office and Its Holders Since 1945 (2000), The Secret State- Preparing for the Worst (2002, 2010) and, co-authored with James Jinks, The Silent Deep- The Royal Navy Submarine Service Since 1945 (2015, winner of the Duke of Westminster's Award for Military Literature and the Mountbatten Maritime Award). He was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 2003 and created an independent crossbench life peer as Lord Hennessy of Nympsfield in 2010.
The foremost chronicler of the era, Hennessy combines the intricate detail with stylistic verve. -- Philip Stephens * Financial Times * the intense erudition underpinning Hennessy's intimate reflections ... makes it utterly indispensable. -- Simon Heffer * Daily Telegraph * a masterful survey of Britain as the decade began ... I am afraid that he is now a treasure -- David Aaronovitch * The Times * No current historian is as versed as Hennessy in the internal cogs and springs of the British state, but he also has a keen eye for the luminous face of passing time. -- Tim Adams * Observer * splendid history of postwar Britain ... Hennessy's writing is characterised by a wonderful mixture of wit and erudition -- Piers Brendon * Literary Review * fascinating ... dominated by the author's personal enthusiasms, researches and memories -- Max Hastings * Sunday Times * A forensic look at the years from 1960 to 64 ... Hennessy has such a keen associative eye and such a generous heart for the sheer oddness of everything that the narrative spins along like a comfortable chat -- Kathryn Hughes * Guardian * Hennessy is a national treasure. He is driven by a romantic, almost sensual, fascination with British history, culture, and the quirky intricacies of British democracy and the government machine. His curiosity is insatiable, his memory infinitely capacious. -- Rodric Braithwaite * Spectator * Professor Peter Hennessy is a fine historian of late-twentieth-century Britain. He is a master of all the published sources, and his generous personality, academic distinction and unquestioned integrity have meant that he adds to them a lifetime of the confidences and insights of most of those who have actually made our history. ... So, a standing ovation for Peter Hennessy, a good man who writes very good books. -- Chris Patten * The Tablet *