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Fighting for Life

UK Publisher: Viking / Penguin

A gripping, provocative exploration of the National Health Service, told through the most critical moments in its history, and published ahead of the 75th anniversary of its foundation.

Since its inception in 1948, the NHS has been a cornerstone of British life – we are born into it, we are looked after by it, and quite often we die in it. From the sexual revolution of the 1960s to the first test tube baby, from the Mental Health Act to the Coronavirus crisis, it has made history again and again – shaping our society and culture.

But the NHS has also become a battleground for some of the fiercest political contests of our time; variously perceived as a national treasure that needs to be preserved at all costs, and as a lumbering piece of state machinery in need of radical renovation. In Fighting for Life, award-winning journalist Isabel Hardman tells the story of a beloved institution through the people who keep it alive – its nurses, its doctors, its patients and the politicians who decide its fate.

With her trademark acuity she tells a story that is by turns uplifting and inspiring, and shocking and alarming. Cutting through sentimentality and sloganeering on all sides of the political spectrum, she shows us how our NHS really works, and what it means for our future.

Isabel Hardman is Assistant Editor of the Spectator and presenter of Radio 4’s The Week in Westminster. She regularly writes...