This chapter deals with Priestley and the period of war. Priestley was among those who saw the war as an opportunity for much-needed social and cultural change. For him, the hope of radical postwar reconstruction grew out of despair at the condition of the nation in the 1930s. It extended beyond the familiar Wigan Pier territory of unemployment and social conditions in the depressed areas, to bring in issues of democracy, culture, national identity and the distribution of power and status in British society. During the war, much to the irritation of Churchill and his colleagues, he was the most widely heard spokesman for radical postwar reconstruction, appealing to the oft-expressed desire for ‘no return to the thirties’.
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