- The layout is very sombre – alternate pages of nearly solid text and gritty, dark black and white photos on white background with simple captions. The production basically says – take me seriously, there’s nothing frivolous here.
- There is much more text than I expected.
- It’s presented as a collective work – no individual picture credits – but the styles are pretty consistent.
- Where are the middle classes?
- As noted above the pictures are quite dark – essentially the traditional documentary approach.
- The pictures can stand on their own. It is not necessary to read all the text to get a message about powerful people making distant decisions while on the ground life is pretty grim.
- The book tells a story which starts with the situation getting difficult , moves through the powerful trying to impose decisions, the inevitable consequences of poorly managed welfare provision and finishing with riots.
- I grew up in the period covered by the book – yet nothing in it touches on my experience of the period. It is clear from the text that the middle classes are deliberately excluded. In a book which is concerned with indicating process not just symptoms this seems a significant omission since it is probably the middle classes that put people into positions of power, rather than the disenfranchised.