Promised You A Miracle 80-82 by Andy Beckett. Published by: Allen Lane. Out: now.
Andy Beckett ‘s earlier book Where Were You When The Lights Out? dealt with the entire 1970s in one volume. This admittedly shorter book focuses on just a three year period, the first three years of the 1980s, three of the most turbulent years in recent British history. At the start of the period covered here, the newly elected Thatcher government was already running into trouble with its monetarist experiment and Labour, under an increasingly weary Jim Callaghan was also threatening to slide into civil war. By the end of the period, Margaret Thatcher’s leadership had been resurrected by the victory in the Falklands and Labour had plunged further into turmoil under Michael Foot. In the meantime, the SDP had risen from nowhere to a state of political dominance by the end of 1981 but a year on, it was already looking like a busted flush. Britain had also enjoyed a royal wedding, seen the creation of the Greenham Common camp amidst very real nuclear war fears and Brixton and Toxteth had descended into rioting as police harassment pushed locals close to breaking point.
Beckett’s excellent history book perhaps covers some familiar territory but is well written, intelligent and given added weight by the testimony of key figures who were there at the time.