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The Pendulum Years: Britain and the Sixties [Hardcover]

Bernard Levin
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

5 Nov 1970
A collection of Levin's journalism on the events of the 1960s. He comments on society and politics covering Wilson, Macmillan and the various political scandals of the decade. His previous journalistic anthologies are "Taking Sides", "Speaking Up" and "The Way We Live Now".
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 451 pages
  • Publisher: Jonathan Cape Ltd; Reprint edition (5 Nov 1970)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0224619632
  • ISBN-13: 978-0224619639
  • Product Dimensions: 21.8 x 14.5 x 4.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 910,730 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"It is brilliant. It is all true. A remarkable achievement... with a wit that even the victims may recognise." -- Economist --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Bernard Levin was one of the leading journalists of the latter half of the 20th century. In his glittering career he wrote for the Spectator, the Guardian, the Daily Express and Daily Mail, the New Statesman and the New York Times. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
3.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A premier review of the sixties 6 Jun 2010
Having first come across this book in the early seventies at my local public library, I was very pleased to be able to purchase this paperback edition and reconnect with some memorable writing. Over the course of twenty five chapters, Levin documents the essence and chaos of the sixties, the sense of moral confusion that reigned as the 'new order' was rapidly making its mark. That there was a vibrant discussion on the moral course the country was taking is a refreshing reflection on the situation today - apathy was definitely not on the agenda of sixties men and women!
Levin's witty and irreverent comments had me laughing out loud on many occassions throughout the book but rather than just being nasty, cynical snipes of the type you could expect from today's diarists, his was formed from a studied knowledge of the various characters. For too long we have been taking the sixties and its so called revolution far too seriously, Levin helps debunk its position in our psyche and presents it as a cacophony of conmen, charlatans and filthy operators. If you want to look back at the main figures and events that made the sixties swing then is the book for you.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars So full of himself! 20 Feb 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I bought this book looking for an analytical retrospective on the decade when I was growing up in Britain. The author appeared to have a good reputation from several reviews and the blurb on the front and back covers was highly favorable, so I had high hopes of an interesting read. What a let-down. Can you imagine 435 pages of someone telling you how stupid a whole nation was during a whole decade?

What starts out as an interesting satirical and mocking tone becomes so unbearable that it was hard to get past the first 50 pages. But I plowed on in search of some redeeming feature. Eventually I learned to read the first sentence of each paragraph and then skip all the turgid detail and self-congratulatory analysis which conveyed the inevitable message: Aren't I clever, weren't they stupid...!"

Despite all the copious research that evidently went into this book, the author manages to overlook (or dismiss) so many significant events or turning-points in the 1960s. For example, he never mentions the introduction of color TV and alternatives to the BBC; TV advertising; the launch of Coronation Street; the amazing creativity of multiple"groups" whose music survives even now; the Moon Landing (dismissed summarily); the persistence of the mini-skirt throughout a long decade and its liberating effect on girls and women aged from 12 to 72; the entry of more and more young women into university; the growth of foreign travel through package holidays; and on a profoundly negative note, the entrenched racism against people of color and immigrants from the Commonwealth; and on and on.

Many times I felt as though the author had muddled up his view of the 60s with the 70s (eg. supposed weekly / monthly changes in fashion). On the contrary there was definitely a 60s look -- see any of the Bond movies for confirmation.

So, all in all, a big waste of time. The author could have delivered his piece in under 100 pages.
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1 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Review 25 Oct 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A dense book and one for those involved in that ridiculous decade.

Erudite and witty but he is guilty of the very accusation he charges others with:a bit of a wind bag apt to take himself and the decade a tad too seriously.
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