David Kynaston's Austerity Britain 1945-51 is the first of a series Tales of a New Jerusalem, which will tell the story of Britain from VE Day in 1945 to the election of Margeret Thatcher in 1979
it is a thoroughly researched and eminently readable account of how post war britain was brought into being told through the voices of mass observation as well as the usual historical sources
"Although wealth, physical health and social equality may all make their contributions to human happiness, they can all do little and cannot themselves be secured, without health in the individual mind. We are our own kingdoms and make for ourselves, in large measure, the world in which we live. We may be rich, and healthy, and liberal; but unless we are free from secret guilt, the agonies of inferiority and frustration, and the fire of unexpressed aggression, all other things are added to our lives in vain. The cruelty and irrationality of human society spring from these secret sources. The savagery of a Hitler, the brutality of a Stalin, the ruthlessness and refined bestiality that is rampant in the world today - persecution, cruelty and war - are nothing but the external expression, the institutional and rationalised form of these dark forces in the human heart."
Evan Durbin (1906–1948), economist, politician and one of the architects of the welfare state
asked why more of the post-war social aspirations were not achieved, he expressed the opinion that most of us are very sick by which he meant mentally ill and very stupid by which he meant stupid. not politically correct but the truth nonetheless
however, i might have parted company with him when he suggested selective breeding as the answer
i intend to read the rest of the series and must admit this review simply does not do justice to Kynaston's great work