The Changing Anatomy of Britain by Anthon Sampson; Britain Against Itself by Samuel H Beer - review by Andrew Alexander

Andrew Alexander

Gnawing Doubts

The Changing Anatomy of Britain

By

Hodder & Stoughton 435pp £8.95 order from our bookshop

Britain Against Itself

By

Faber & Faber 224pp £9.50 order from our bookshop
 

If Anyone would like to buy a copy of Anthony Sampson’s The Changing Anatomy of Britain, badly gnawed at the edges and battered through being occasionally flung across the room then I shall be glad to hear from them.

No doubt it is wrong to lose one’s temper with a book merely because it is silly, obsessive, superficial, poorly written and researched and highly selective in its facts. After all there are many books around suffering from these faults individually and, just occasionally, collectively. Few of them however are guaranteed the sort of spurious reputation for authority which Sampson’s books command.

The most tiresome feature of The Changing Anatomy, indeed its raison d’être, is of course Sampson’s class obsessions. Mrs Thatcher, whose interview with Sampson was, one senses, a rather tart affair, told him: ‘I’ve got no hang up about my background like you intellectual commentators in the South East.’

One cavils

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