Book review: First Class, By Chris West


A "history of Britain in 36 postage stamps" could have been as fusty as the hobby from which it emerged but West's annotations are well-crafted and revealing.

We learn from the 1953 Coronation stamp, featuring a novel full-on portrait of the Queen, that Churchill hated the Festival of Britain.

Though West includes the George V Penny Red used on the dreaded envelopes informing families of Tommies killed in action (officers got telegrams), he oddly does not remark on the king's obsessive philately.