• Seasons in the Sun

  • The Battle for Britain, 1974-1979
  • By: Dominic Sandbrook
  • Narrated by: David Thorpe
  • Length: 41 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 11-16-12
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Audible Studios
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars 4.7 (23 ratings)

Regular price: $31.97

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Publisher's Summary

In the early 1970s, Britain seemed to be tottering on the brink of the abyss. Under Edward Heath, the optimism of the '60s had become a distant memory. Now the headlines were dominated by strikes and blackouts, unemployment and inflation. As the world looked on in horrified fascination, Britain seemed to be tearing itself apart. And yet, amid the gloom, glittered a creativity and cultural dynamism that would influence our lives long after the nightmarish '70s had been forgotten.
Dominic Sandbrook has recreated the gaudy, schizophrenic atmosphere of the early '70s: the world of Enoch Powell and Tony Benn, David Bowie and Brian Clough, Germaine Greer and Mary Whitehouse. An age when the unions were on the march and the socialist revolution seemed at hand, but also when feminism, permissiveness, pornography and environmentalism were transforming the lives of millions. It was an age of miners’ strikes, tower blocks, and IRA atrocities, but it also gave us celebrity footballers and high-street curry houses, organic foods and package holidays, gay rights and glam rock. For those who remember the days when you could buy a new colour television but power cuts stopped you from watching it, this book could hardly be more vivid. It is the perfect guide to a luridly colourful '70s landscape that shaped our present from the financial boardroom to the suburban bedroom.
In Seasons in the Sun, Dominic Sandbrook explores the bitter, turbulent world of Britain in the late 1970s, the years that brought punk to prominence and Margaret Thatcher to power. With inflation mounting, rubbish in the streets, bombs going off across London, and the economy in meltdown, the days of national greatness seemed a fading memory. Across the Western world, Britain was mocked as the "Sick Man of Europe", a byword for decline and self-destruction. In 1976 alone, race riots disrupted the Notting Hill Carnival, the retirement of Prime Minister Harold Wilson was overshadowed by allegations of corruption, the Sex Pistols made their shocking debut on national television, and Britain had to go cap in hand to the IMF.
Yet as Seasons in the Sun shows, there was more to late 1970s Britain than strikes and shortages. From rock music and television sitcoms to the novels of Martin Amis and the birth of the first home computers, this was a society caught between old and new: nostalgic for what had been lost, but already looking forward to a new and very different political and social order.
©2012 Dominic Sandbrook (P)2012 Audible Ltd
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Steven on 07-12-14

Carry on, Britain!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes. This and "State of Emergency", Sandbrook's other book about the early '70s in the UK.

What did you like best about this story?

Like "State of Emergency", Sandbrook continues to blow my mind about how desperate these times were for the Brits but how they always managed to persevere.

Which scene was your favorite?

The story of Liberal Party head Jeremy Thorpe, involving a plot to murder a former lover. The would-be hit-man did manage to kill the lover's dog. Crazy story.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I was depressed when I finished it.

Any additional comments?

I wish Sandbrook's books on Britain in the Sixties were available on Audible. Can't wait for his books on the Eighties. This gave me great perspective on where the Thatcherite movement came from.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Mr G. on 02-08-13

First rate social and political history

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Ok so this is a fairly narrowly focused book, so unless you have an interest in British social and political history it may not appeal to you. That being said it's easily one of the best non fiction books I've ever read/ listened to. The pacing and detail level is perfect, and what should be a fairly dry subject is brought to life with a journalistic style reminiscent of Bill Bryson or Michael Lewis. As someone who was a small child in Britain during this period the book had incredible resonance with me. What was a real education for me was how close we came to economic and social collapse. I was much too young to understand at the time what the power outages and strikes meant but the books thorough explanation of the politcal climate at the time has given me a much deeper understanding of the forces that shaped the Britain i grew up in.

What did you like best about this story?

The best part for me was the clear explanation of the political intrigues of the time, from the bitter infighting and decline of a fractured, militant Labor Party to the passing of the old guard conservatives that allowed the seeds of Thatcherite monetrism to grow from the ashes of the IMF bailout and winter of discontent.

What about David Thorpe’s performance did you like?

David Thorpe's performance is a tour de force, the narration on its own is clear, precise and a joy to listen to however what makes this book stand out from anything I've heard before is the voices of the celebrities and political figures of the time. The impressions are so accurate i was easily able to visualize the people being represented speaking the words as if i was a child watching them on the news in the late 70s and early 80s. Unless you know of, and have heard the people involved speaking you just can't appreciate how accurate his impressions are. If you listen to the book and don't know who some of the politicians are i would challenge you to find clips of them and compare. I hope there will be more in this series and that David Thorpe will read them. I couldn't imagine a better narrator for this book.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Francis on 01-12-13

Seventies in detail

Both those who lived through these years and those born afterward will find this account illuminating and enjoyable.Over forty hours for five years may seem indulgent, but the detail this allows is fascinating and held my attention throughout. DominicSandbrook gives vivid ,shrewd accounts of major and minor characters and provides excellent description and analysis of such topics as the rise of punk, the role of the unions,the Thorpe murder trial,the winter of discontent etc. David Thorpe reads the long text superbly with unflagging enthusiasm and his successful mimicry of a very wide range of voices often gives a dramatic quality to the narrative. It would be excellent if he were to read the earlier volumes of Sandbrook's history :

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6 of 6 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Philip on 06-04-13

A Recent History Written With Humour and Fairness

I don't remember history books making me laugh. At least not with the regularity of Sandbrook's latest addition to his history of the 1970's. And there are some genuinely funny episodes here such as the nascent plot to "dispose" of Harold Wilson's mistress. I know how wrong that sounds, but trust me, Sandbrook handles this with great humour and insight. These years 1974-79 also cover the winter of discontent and equally draws conclusions on Callaghan's government and the rise of Thatcherism that are intelligent and sympathetic both to Callaghan and the poorly paid public sector workers who were striving to keep their heads afloat in the teeth of a disabling run of inflation. What is truly wonderful about this book is that despite, or more likely because of all this upheaval, life goes on all around and it is a form of nostalgic delight to hear of telly dramas, pop music, teen surveys, and that side of history that so often gets ignored, the lives of ordinary people. A book to be heard over and over.

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Kirsty on 06-09-15

From one of the ones who left

Reviewing this and its companion book State of Emergency which I listened to immediately preceding, I come to this segment of history as one who left school in 1970, a committed Tory, just too young to vote in the election which brought Heath to power; emigrated in 1974 a year after leaving university; returning in the middle of the winter of discontent to have my first child and having to boil drinking water due to a strike (just like in Nigeria where I was living at the time) - my adopted government paid for my hospital costs lest you feel I was freeloading. I came back to a country where the people were so miserable that I knew I had made the right decision. With 20/20 hindsight it is always easy to see what 'should' have been done by Heath, Wilson and Callaghan et al but what I liked most about the books is the explanation of the personalities of the leading figures and how these traits, strengths and defects significantly influenced the events of the decade. And the events of the intervening years have changed my political perspective by about 180 degrees.
Finally, this narrator rocks - one of the best!

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