Ten Days That Changed The Nation
The Making of Modern Britain
Sometimes it is not big events or great men or women that change history. Often, an apparently trivial occasion or insignificant decision changes everything.
Stephen Pollard’s alternative history of the past sixty years examines ten such crucial days in our history. None of them are obviously historic. But each of them changed the country – some for good, others for ill.
Combining history, analysis, humour and polemic, this incisive look at events stretched across six decades reveals how and why we became the nation we now are.
The ten days which constitute Pollard’s history of Britain deal with important areas of national life. The arrival on 22 June 1948 of 492 West Indians aboard HMS Empire Windrush changed the very make-up of the country. The invention of the microwave on 8 October 1945 altered not just what we eat but how we eat – and drink. The education system, Pollard argues, was destroyed by the forced introduction of comprehensive schooling on 12 July 1965. Publication of Germaine Greer’s The Female Eunuch on 24 October 1970 changed family life. And the staging of It’s a Royal Knockout on 15 June 1987 marked the end of the monarchy as a serious institution. The events of other days transformed culture, politics, crime, sport and the very future of Western civilization.
Behind each of the ten days is a story; some of these stories are well known, some obscure. Fusing narrative with analysis, and history with contemporary relevance, Ten Days That Changed the Nation shows us the major impact that apparently minor events can have on our lives.
Stephen Pollard’s approachable, readable narrative is as engaging as it is controversial.
First published by Simon & Schuster (UK) in 2009.
‘always entertaining and informative’