I was born in 1982 and left the UK in 1986 for nearly 20 years. I needed this book to fill the big gap in my understanding of British history during that 1980s period. So many events of today make sense now. Silly it my sound, but I never thought of the movers and shakers of today having their roots in the 1980s. Gordon Brown is mentioned, as is Tony Blair. The Wapping strike and Rupert Murdoch breaking the unions. Unions in general, which are now making a bit of a comeback into the national news. It covers culture, history, economics, fashion, women's history, LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transvestite) history, racial history, sports history, and more. Events that are now having anniversaries, like the Hillsborough disaster, are covered. Ultimately, McSmith brought everything together so I could see how it fit together and how it lead to our present situation in the UK.
I found the narration excellent and the book itself fascinating. One of the most valuable books I've read/listened to in several years.
If you're interested in British political history I think you'll enjoy this book as it focuses in great detail on the turbulent first few years of William IVth short reign as reformers tried to get rid of the rotten Burghs and enable large cities, such as Manchester, to have representation in Parliament and also to extend the voting rights beyond a few property owners. Lord Grey had pressed for reform for about 40 years and finally succeeded with the Reform Bill of 1832. I had underestimated how this modest reform was so vehemently opposed by many in the Tory party and their aristocratic supporters. I was also surprised by how England teetered on the brink of insurrection as ordinary people denied the vote pressed violently for the right to vote. The narrative is very detailed with many names of politicians many of whom have faded from history which led to my mind wandering a bit a times nevertheless I was glad to learn more about this important turning point in the political climate of this country.