The Eighties may seem to many of us like yesterday, but they are already two decades ago. Not only have we already become nostalgic for them (witness the recent reunions of eighties bands from Spandau Ballet to Ultravox), but in many ways the decade does seem like a thoroughly foreign country. A naval Task Force sailing to re-take an insular outpost in the South Atlantic (with the QE2 converted to a troopship!) Almost a quarter of Britains heavy industry wiped out by savagely monetarist policies, laying waste to whole heavy industries like coal mining and shipbuilding. Boy George sweetly crooning Karma Chameleon. The extraordinary pitched battles of the miners strike. The panic of the early stages of AIDS. Now, Alwyn Turner has written the first ful-length, in-depth history of this most fascinating of decades. If the Seventies, the subject of his previous book, were the last gasp of the old Britain, the Eighties were a truly transitional, politically revolutionary decade, when Thatcherism remade Britains economy and its society, but when Britains social fabric also changed in many infinitely more encouraging ways: the response to famine in Ethiopia with the global Live Aid concert; gay rights. Witty, formidably well-informed, on political intrigue as well as every last soap opera and rock album, this is a piece of genuinely new history.

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