The days of Harold Macmillan’s ‘never had it so good’ in the late fifties and early sixties were also an era of emerging consciousness among many British young people motivated not least by the threat of nuclear annihilation in the superpower conflict – the time of a new left and the New Left.
This took many forms, from the ‘Ban the Bomb’ activities of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament to upheavals in the Labour Party youth movement, the New Left clubs and the growth of various Marxist-influenced (and rival) organisations.
John Charlton’s book – its title taken from the opening line of a CND song, and based primarily on numerous interviews with participants – provides a fascinating and detailed picture of these developments in one particular area, the North East of England.
Placed in an analysis of the social, cultural and historical context of the times and of the North East, John Charlton explores the developments and dilemmas affecting the politically aware left wing youth, their activities and debates. It is the first regional study of this movement which prefigured the bigger and more widespread upsurge of the later ‘sixties’.
“This microcosm of a countrywide youth movement is treated here with a clarity and depth that is wholly unprecedented.” Professor Willie Thompson.
John Charlton taught at Leeds Polytechnic and Leeds University. He is currently an editor of North East History. His publications include books on Chartism, New Unionism, Anti-Capitalist movements and the Slavery Business & north east England.
Published by Merlin Press in association with North East History
Price: £14.95 in book shops or order direct from Merlin Press.