“This soundly researched and eminently readable volume is the first rigorous, impartial analysis of popular attitudes and media coverage and bias during early September 1997. Using the results of a mass observation project, a range of opinion polls, newspaper and journal coverage, and a huge number of secondary sources, James Thomas pinpoints and dissects the range of conflicting reactions to the tragic events of August 31.
Indeed, he demonstrates how the British people were in fact deeply divided in their responses to Diana's death and its aftermath. He shows conclusively how the media, far from reflecting and describing the grief of the nation, in fact led and moulded it. Somehow, the attitudes of those assembled and thus interviewed in the Mall and outside Kensington Palace at the heart of the metropolis were viewed as the reaction of the entire nation. Responses in the provinces were given notably short shrift. In his conclusion, the author contrasts the popular memory of September 1997 with the myth of the blitz in World War Two. Media power, hugely and perilously undemocratic, dwarfed people power, potentially democratic and accountable. This pioneering volume is certainly a stimulating and eye-opening read.” www.gwales.com