The Way It Was

Matthew Engel


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Atlantic Books
7 September 2023
ISBN: 9781786496690
640 pages

From the publisher

Book of the Year in the Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph and New Statesman

A powerful illumination of a lost world that is nevertheless part of living memory.' Simon Heffer, 'Books of the Year' , Daily Telegraph

'A joyous new book on post-war Britain.' Daily Mail

When Queen Elizabeth II came to the throne in 1952, Britain had a far-flung empire, Winston Churchill was prime minister, sweets were rationed, mums stayed at home and kids played on bombsites. In the years that followed everything changed utterly. Through original research, interviews with people who were there and his own memories of the time, Matthew Engel traces this transformation of British society as never before.

Beginning with the death of King George VI and ending on the eve of Margaret Thatcher's election, Engel not only covers all the major historical events but also explores everyday life - from the food we ate and where we shopped, to what we watched on television and the newspapers we read. In doing so, he brings these three decades to life with his own light touch and a wealth of fascinating, forgotten, often funny detail.

Previously published as The Reign - Life in Elizabeth's Britain.