Dominic Sandbrook is a writer and historian and broadcaster, author of popular histories of post-1945 Britain, Seasons in the Sun (2012); State of Emergency (2010); White Heat (2006); & Never Had it So Good (2005). 



 Dominic has navigated a tricky pathway in the aftermath of the announcement of Margaret Thatcher's death.  Crucially, he points out the problematic legacy.  Although she aimed to bring back Victorian values, it is the case that drugs and drunkenness, divorce, abortion, teen pregnancy, all rose during her rein.  Also, she promised a back to basics approach to law/order, plus breaking the union/strick cycle.  On the first she failed, with the worst urban riots ever seen in the UK.  In the second, she caused huge deprivation and scarred neighbourhoods and regions, families and individuals, by her war against the miners and their culture.  Recommend reading Dominic's own words about Thatcher's interest in thrift and yet she presided over the deregulating of banking and the phoney credit boom, and also ironically, an increase in public spending.  Dominic concludes that the most remarkable thing about Thatcher is that she was a woman! This changed aspirtions and expectations in the UK and paved the way for women to expect equality in the work place.  See 


 Dominic 'in conversation' answered a series of questions about his interests in history, about his move from academia to journalism, about the difference between writing a book and making a tv show, and a mention of his next exciting project on the Cold War.

 So far, the only downside to writing for a popular audience has been not yet tackling a pre-1900 topic, because, Dominic explained, although audiences do like to read and watch history subjects outside of living memory, there needs to be a relevancy to make it matter to contemporary readers and viewers, and so you can't be too esoteric.  TV is a very effective way to reach people (way beyond the audience for reading history books); for example, the first episode on the 70s  was watched live by 3 million in the UK.  

 On talking about the difference between writing a book and making a tv documentary, Dominic reflected on the collaborative process involved in television, especially because decisions about images and music and the edit are not made by you the author, but by the production team, and essentially you are the front man.  Interestingly, Dominic talked about finding a voice and in conveying how his writing style is direct rather than relentlessly polished.  Dominic's top quote of the night was to say that if Simon Schama was a Michelin-starred dining experience, in contrast, he was an English breakfast!  To listen to the quote and hear it in context, please find the podcast by going to the audio link below. 

 The format for the event with Dominic was 'in conversation' introduced by Scott Anthony and Jon Lawrence, with a live audience in Cambridge and a wider audience participating via a twittercast, moderated via @PopularHistory.  Three prizes were awarded from the event by Helen Weinstein, donated via @historyworkstv of signed copies of Dominic (his books not his person) for twitter participants for prize questions.  These were awarded to Aimee Brookes (Public History MA student at Royal Holloway, London); Dustin Neighbors, (PhD History student at University of York); and Nick Heritage (Middle School History Teacher, Bucks).

You can find the following resources via @PopularHistory here:

- Audio of the event here:

- Abstract of the event here:

- Twittercast of the event here:

- Storify summarizing the twittercast abstracts of the event (via @NickBlackbourn) here: