Land of Shame and Glory

Peter Hennessy

‘Gives a powerful sense of what it was like to live through these tumultuous thirteen months.’
Times Literary Supplement

Land of Shame and Glory is short, thoughtful, full of insights and elegantly written.’
The Oldie

‘Wise and even prophetic’
House Magazine


In Land of Shame and Glory, Peter Hennessy brings his deep political and historical understanding to this study of two of the most turbulent and disruptive years experienced by Britain in peacetime.

As the protracted withdrawal from the EU and the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic dragged on, a series of unprecedented challenges – some global, some domestic – laid bare the fragility of Britain and the Union.

Beginning with the chaotic Fall of Kabul, which exposed Britain’s military dependence on the United States, through the drawn-out, unedifying removal of a prime minister that further exposed the vulnerabilities of an unwritten constitution; to the country sweltering in record breaking temperatures amid dire warnings of climate catastrophe; and finally to the death of a much-loved monarch, a point of constancy during decades of tremendous social and technological change.

In his final chapter, Hennessy considers the continuities and upheavals of the last seventy years, asking whether there can be said to have been a second ‘Elizabethan Age’, and lamenting that the post-war period came to its close amid such upheaval and loss.

PETER HENNESSY‘s award-winning works of contemporary history include Never Again: Britain, 1945-51 (1992), Having it So Good: Britain in the Fifties (2006), and Winds of Change: Britain in the Early Sixties (2019). He is is the series editor of the Haus Curiosities, and his books published with Haus include The Bonfire of the Decencies and The Complete Reflections.

Listen to Peter on Broadcasting House Highlights here.

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