by Dominic Sandbrook - £12.99 Penguin Books Ltd (2016)
paperback ISBN 13: 9780141979304 | ISBN 10: 0141979305
Britain's empire has gone. We no longer matter as we once did. And yet there is still one area in which we can legitimately claim superpower status: our popular culture.
It is extraordinary to think that one British writer, J. K. Rowling, has sold more than 400 million books; that Doctor Who is watched in almost every developed country in the world; that James Bond has been the central character in the longest-running film series in history; that The Lord of the Rings is the second best-selling novel ever written (behind only A Tale of Two Cities); that the Beatles are still the best-selling musical group of all time; and that only Shakespeare and the Bible have sold more books than Agatha Christie. To put it simply, no country on earth, relative to its size, has contributed more to the modern imagination.
This is a book about the success and the meaning of Britain's modern popular culture, from Bond and the Beatles to Catherine Cookson and Coronation Street, from Harry Potter, heavy metal and Kate Bush to Damien Hirst, Downton Abbey and Grand Theft Auto.
Dominic Sandbrook's superbly rich, entertaining and thought-provoking book makes it clear that The Great British Dream Factory is a very strange and wonderful place indeed.
(Price & availability last checked: September 2016)