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David Kynaston, poet of postwar Britain

Modern history has never been more popular, but the scale and detail of David Kynaston’s work puts him in a league of his own

By Jonathan Coe   July 2013

Young people dancing to Lonnie Donegan in March 1958: the new historians of modern Britain look seriously at pop culture © Bert Hardy/Getty Images

Modernity Britain: Opening the Box, 1957-59 by David Kynaston (Bloomsbury, £25)

In the acknowledgments to Never Had It So Good (2005), his history of Britain in the late 1950s, Dominic Sandbrook recalls how a senior academic colleague at Sheffield University “solemnly advised me to cancel the contract for what he liked to call my ‘coffee-table book,’ and to devote myself instead to writing…

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