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The Shadow of a Nation: The Changing Face of Britain: Book by Nick Clarke

The Shadow of a Nation: The Changing Face of Britain

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ISBN: 9780297607700    Publisher: Orion Publishing Co Year of publishing: 2003     Format:  Hardback No of Pages: 277        
Nick Clarke writes: 'Something dramatic - some would say traumatic - has happened to British society in the 50 years since the Coronation. We may have avoided world war, but almost all the certainties...Read more
Nick Clarke writes: 'Something dramatic - some would say traumatic - has happened to British society in the 50 years since the Coronation. We may have avoided world war, but almost all the certainties of Coronation year (1953) have been dispersed. Where did they go? Should we regret their loss? Or have the decades of economic growth been matched by a parallel improvement in our lives that makes both questions irrelevant?' Clarke's approach is what he calls 'slivers of history', a chronicle of change marked out in the experiences of a few notable men and women, as well as critical perceptions of their lives and works. His final list of eminent 20th century Elizabethans concentrates on half a dozen, whereas his model, Lytton Strachey, he points out, originally had twelve, before cutting these to four. Clarke's subjects are: Elizabeth David and Delia Smith (representing the extraordinary transformation in our consumer habits since 1953), David Frost (the media), Arthur Scargill (the unions), Maurice Saatchi (advertising); and for royalty (Princess Margaret) .
Unlike Strachey who used only written sources, Clarke, best known as the presenter of R4's 'World at One' also conducted interviews with his subjects' friends and foes. Clarke has also drawn on the experiences of his father John Clarke, a noted Fleet Street journalist, as well as his own memories to show how life in Britain has changed in the 50 years since the Coronation of the Queen.
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About the author: Nick Clarke
Son of a journalist, he read Modern Languages at Cambridge. After three years on YORKSHIRE EVENING POST, joined BBC TV News in Manchester in 1973. Spent... Read more
Son of a journalist, he read Modern Languages at Cambridge. After three years on YORKSHIRE EVENING POST, joined BBC TV News in Manchester in 1973. Spent five years on MONEY PROGRAMME, three years with NEWSNIGHT and since 1989 has been a BBC Radio Presenter, first on WORLD THIS WEEKEND and since 1994 on WORLD AT ONE. He is also questionmaster for ROUND BRITAIN QUIZ and regularly chairs ANY QUESTIONS? Married, he is the father of two sets of twins.
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Review:
Nick was on NIGHTWAVES (BBC Radio 3) on 19 May, THE ARTS PROGRAMME (BBC Radio Scotland) on 30 May and ROBERT ELMS SHOW (BBC London) on 21 May, BBC RADIO WALES on 22 May, BBC RADIO BRISTOL on 30 May...Read more
Nick was on NIGHTWAVES (BBC Radio 3) on 19 May, THE ARTS PROGRAMME (BBC Radio Scotland) on 30 May and ROBERT ELMS SHOW (BBC London) on 21 May, BBC RADIO WALES on 22 May, BBC RADIO BRISTOL on 30 May and BBC RADIO KENT on 15 July. He has also doe an afternoon of further local radio interviews organised by the BBC on Monday 2 June . Nick's piece ran in the media section of THE GUARDIAN on 26 May, his piece on the 50s for THE DAILY MAIL ran on 24 May and his NEW STATESMAN DIARY on 16 June. Nick did an excellent event at Hay on 25 May, and a very lively and interesting debate at the Media Society on 29 May. Festivals still to come are: Edinburgh, Dartington, Rye, Winchester, Cheltenham and Chichester Festivals. Nick's launch party at the Groucho Club on Tuesday 20May was extremely well attended and we had a diary story in the media pages of THE EVENING STANDARD. BROADCAST magazine are also going to do a piece on the book. And just to remind you of the reviews we've had: A book which is constantly entertaining and will start many arguments.'John Mortimer, THE DAILY MAIL 'This sensitive portrait does indicate that life was more fulfilling in the 1950s'Mark Garnett, THE TLS 'If Tony Blair reads only one book this year it should be Nick Clarke's.... it is an ellusive but compelling and entertaining quest.'Alan Taylor, THE SUNDAY HERALD 'a masterpiece'Frank McLynn, THE HERALD 'this lively social history of the past 50 years.'Michael Vestey, THE SPECTATOR 'Clarke is able to demonstrate with reference to this arbitary group that success, wealth and fame are not index-linked to talent. This is hardly new, but Clarke finds some nice passing ironies.'Robert Winder, THE NEW STATESMAN 'the charm is in the gossipy details.'Paul Barker, THE INDEPENDENT ON SUN
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