The shadow of a nation : the changing face of Britain /
Nick Clarke.
London : Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2003.
277 p. : port. ; 24 cm.
More Details
London : Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2003.
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references (p. [260]-262) and index.
A Look Inside
Flap Copy
'Like many others of the post-war generation, my first memory belongs to the young Queen: her coronation heralded the arrival of a television in the corner of the living-room, and consequenlty the start of the dissipation of my juvenile sense of reality.'In The Shadow of A Nation, Nick Clarke looks back across the past half-century, and finds himself wondering what happened to the solid, substantial Britain of his childhood. How did we get from then to now? Then - pound-notes, starting-handles, jobs for life, cooking at a hot stove and fame achieved through talent and hard graft; now - a virtual world of credit cards, electronic ignition, dotcom commerce, television chefs and instant celebrity. You don't need to be nostalgic for a stubborn starting-handle on a wet winter's morning to find the changes startling.In the tradition (loosely) of Lytton Strachey's Eminent Victorians, Clarke uses the lives of celebrated Elizabethans to chart how the nation has become more shadowy and less substantial. A series of short biographies includes David Frost and Charles Saatchi as agents of the change that has taken place, as well as Princess Margaret and Arthur Scargill, who ended up as its victims. Elizabeth David and Delia Smith provide a culinary diversion, while the media, creators and destroyers of celebrity, play a decisive role in each of the stories. Based on a number of on- and off-the-record interviews with his subjects' friends and enemies, Clarke describes The Shadow of A Nation as 'slivers of history'. It is part memoir, part unconventional analysis of post-war Britain. The result is both revealing and entertaining about a period that was once optimistically dubbed 'the Second Elizabethan Age.'Illustrated20in UK only Nick Clarke's first book was the best-selling biography of Alistair Cooke. Clarke, the son of a noted Fleet Street journalist of the fifties and sixties, read Modern Languages at Cambridge. After three years at the Yorkshire Evening Post he joined BBC TV News in Manchester in 1973. In the 1980s he worked on The Money Programme and Newsnight on BBC2 before discovering the magic of radio. He presented first The World This Weekend and, since 1994, The World at One, and may also be heard on many other Radio 4 programmes, from Round Britain Quiz to Any Questions? In 2000 he was voted Radio Broadcaster of the Year by the Broadcasting Press Guild. He is married, lives in London, and has recently become the father of identical twin boys, to the amusement of three much older children, two of them 1976-vintage twins.Weidenfeld & NicolsonThe Orion Publishing GroupOrion House5 Upper Saint Martin's LaneLondon, WC2H 9EA
Back Cover Copy
ALISTAIR COOKEThe BiographyNick Clarke'It was a bright idea ... of Nick Clarke's to seek to examine the life behind the legend. This is a meticulous and methodical biography.' Anthony Howard, Sunday Times'Nick Clarke has done Cooke justice and done him proud.' Daily Telegraph'Excellent, well written, friendly without ever being obsequious.' Sunday Telegraph
Bowker Data Service Summary
This volume contains 50 years of British history seen through the lives of a disparate group of figures who make up the second Elizabethan age.
Main Description
Nick 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. Based on a number of on- and off-the-record interviews with his 12 subjects' friends and enemies, Clarke's book is part memoir, and part unconventional analysis of post-war Britain.
Main Description
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.
Main Description
In a society obsessed with shallow celebrity and our "fifteen minutes" of fame, have we lost sight of real values? In this controversial and eye-opening book, Nick Clarke uses the lives of six celebrities to show how the media has infiltrated our national psyche. Once a proud nation, we now seem to prefer docu-soaps and fly-on-the-wall dramas to real political and social involvement. So what does this bode for the future of Britain?
Table of Contents
Cast of Charactersp. 1
Prologue - All the World's a (Television) Stagep. 3
Introductionp. 7
Cold but Happyp. 7
A Talisman for Friendship?p. 16
What the Bishops Sawp. 21
You Can Do Radio in the Darkp. 26
No Good Will Come of Itp. 31
Margaret - The Fairy Princessp. 44
Charles Saatchi - A Merchant of Dreamsp. 89
Elizabeth and Delia - Imaginary Cooksp. 127
Arthur Scargill - A Working Manp. 154
David Frost - Television Manp. 200
Epiloguep. 251
Acknowledgementsp. 259
Bibliographyp. 260
Indexp. 263
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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