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Barry GewenThe historian David Kynaston's Austerity Britain: 1945-1951 seems less a book than a scroll. You don't feel that you're turning pages so much as unrolling a single piece of parchment, with facts, figures and, most of all, people moving by in grand procession. There go Churchill, Keynes and other leading politicians and policymakers, also Kingsley Amis, Graham Greene, Isaiah Berlin, J. R. R. Tolkien, a dashing Dirk Bogarde, a young Bill Wyman, as well as dozens of unknowns who happened to keep a diary or utter an especially piquant remark. Sometimes the parade slows. American readers might not require quite so much information on British debates over city planning, and the use of cricket terms can be distracting to anyone far removed from Staten Island's playing fields. But these too pass, and what remains at the end is an engrossing, kaleidoscopic portrait of a people from a particular time and place. This is history as total immersion.
—The New York Times