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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Total historical immersion
I was a child in the early 1970s, the period this book covers, and so whilst some of this was familiar to me, most of it was not. And anyway, when you're a kid, eating by candlelight and reading books under the bedclothes with a torch is exciting rather than a complete pain - my poor parents trying to keep a normal life! It's a complete immersion in early 1970s culture...
Published 23 months ago by Girl with a book

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16 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Short on sources, long on pages ...
General history is a difficult thing to write. Outstanding exponents like Eric Hobsbawm have a phenomenal knowledge of the period they're writing about. Dominic Sandbrook is a "prolific reviewer and commentator" and a columnist for among other outlets the London `Evening Standard', which isn't the same thing.

Hence his sources for writing about 1970-1974...
Published on 27 Dec 2010 by Gareth Smyth


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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Total historical immersion, 23 Sep 2012
This review is from: State of Emergency: The Way We Were: Britain, 1970-1974 (Paperback)
I was a child in the early 1970s, the period this book covers, and so whilst some of this was familiar to me, most of it was not. And anyway, when you're a kid, eating by candlelight and reading books under the bedclothes with a torch is exciting rather than a complete pain - my poor parents trying to keep a normal life! It's a complete immersion in early 1970s culture and politics. Nothing's missed - even football and television are covered to make sure you have a grasp of the country as a whole. I found it hard to get into at first but once I was gripped, fairly romped through to the end, so if that's your first response too, persist. I think I didn't immediately respond to the way he was organising his material, but once you get into the swing, it does work.

I particularly liked his fairness. Even as I reached the end of the book, I realised that I've no idea about his politics. That's not to say he lets people get away with things - all sides come in for criticism at some stage or another. But it's probably the best kind of historian to read, unless you know you want polemic. If you're wondering if this tells you anything about Scotland in the 1970s, the answer is no - as with lots of historical overviews, it's mostly about England, though because of the events of the period, Northern Ireland is extensively (and to my mind well) covered. But it's a very good general overview, particularly if you're looking for something to help you understand the politics of the crazy four years that was 1970 to 1974.
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant. Doesn't flag for a single page, 11 Oct 2010
By 
Chris Widgery (London) - See all my reviews
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I have not read Mr Sandbrook's other two books, covering the 50s and 60s, but will definitely be doing so now. This book covers four years 1970-74 and, whilst 700 pages seems a lot for four years, he needs every one of them. He focuses primarily on the political and economic scene, with the travails of the Heath government, but brings in sport, entertainment, sex, fashion and food. I found it both informative and illuminating but most of all, I found it hugely enjoyable, He is a very good writer and knows when to provide serious historical analysis and when a waspish comment from Kenneth Williams. Mr Sandbrook also doesn't let himself be too constrained by chronological order or his period - so he does drift about into the late 60s and as far as the early 80s. This just adds to the whole thing.

I really didn't know much about the three day week, about the miners' strikes, our entry into Europe or, well, much about the time at all (I was born in 1972). I do now.

This is great. If you have the slightest interest in the period, read it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Continues the story, 5 Jun 2013
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traveller (stirling, scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: State of Emergency: The Way We Were: Britain, 1970-1974 (Paperback)
This volume takes us into the early 70's and as I was a teenager then, this is an informative read about the state of the country when I was growing up. Very well researched and well written, there are once again lots of anecdotes, quotations and observations to make it yet an another enjoyable read in the series.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb. But also incredibly readable, 7 Aug 2012
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emma who reads a lot (London) - See all my reviews
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It's unusual to find a history book that's written with this much style and punch. There are plenty of weakly constructed books that can fill you in on all the facts, but which will send you to sleep in the process. And there also exist highly readable books, which due to factual wavering, lack authority.

This is neither: a totally watertight, very gripping, beautifully described history of the first four years of the seventies. Every generalisation is accurately measured, every story elegantly told. Just enough period detail, just enough historical perspective, and you actually look forward to getting back to the grim years of 1970-174. A really astounding achievement. Can't wait to order the previous two now!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars State of Emergency, 16 July 2012
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This review is from: State of Emergency: The Way We Were: Britain, 1970-1974 (Paperback)
Bought this book for father, as a birthday present, as we have previously enjoyed Dominic Sandbrook's books of the 1960s. I had cheated and got it from the library so had read it but had seen the TV series first. Growing up as a teenager in the 1970s the book gives excellent historical context to the changes of the time linking them to politics, economics and social movements. Can't wait for the next book in what is turning out to be a masterpiece in popular (but certainly not dumbed down) history.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Ch - Ch - Ch - Ch - Changes", 26 Oct 2010
By 
The Wolf (uk) - See all my reviews
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Dominic Sandbrook has written a very big book about
a relatively narrow window in time : 'State Of Emergency.
The Way We Were : Britain, 1970-1974'. I note that the
author was born in Shropshire in 1974 and that he has
also written another book about the life and times of
this small island : 'White Heat : A History Of Britain
In The Swinging Sixties' (2006). I am old enough to have
known and survived both decades. 'State Of Emergency'
brought back a whole flood of memories (some less welcome
than others) to me. A list of names to raise smiles
and shivers in equal measure. David Bowie (Huzzah!);
Mary Whitehouse (Booo!); Arthur Scargill (If you picket it
never gets better!); Edward Heath (Yawn!); Harold Wilson (Aww!)

Mr Sandbrook's treatise provides a robust and insightful analysis of
his subject. The economic crisis; the rise of feminism; the Common Market
(groan!); the "permissive" society and all its (longed-for) little evils;
the gaudy excesses of glam rock; the three-day week and power cuts.

The English have never truly had an appetite for revolution.
We get a big cross and upset for a while and admire or abhor
the few who dare to put their heads and hearts in the firing
line, then we revert to what we're best at. Grumbling.

The financial disasters of the last two years cast a long
shadow backwards in time. 'State Of Emengency' is a book which
resonates deeply with our current crisis. It is as clear
now as it was then : those who would rule us have as little
idea as we do about how to pull us all out of the mess.
Come the revolution! I don't think so!

A fine book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I remember it but not very well!, 21 Aug 2013
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This review is from: State of Emergency: The Way We Were: Britain, 1970-1974 (Paperback)
I was a teenager during the 70s and it was fascinating to read this history of the times. As a teenager I really didn't register a lot of the politics at the time but even as an adult I realise I had a poor picture of what really happened during Ted Heath's term in government. It made me reappraise my opinion of Ted Heath and I certainly have a more sympathetic view of both the man and the politician.
I also liked all the cultural history that was included, the music we listened to, the T.V. we all watched; things that had been forgotten came flooding back. I am looking forward to reading the next book in this series "Seasons in the Sun".
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars every page fascinating, 27 May 2013
By 
Stephen Hough (New York, NY United States) - See all my reviews
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I enjoyed this book enormously - nostalgic, evocative, penetrating, wise, fair. And what a four years! From TV comedy to the beginnings of the UK's entry into Europe Sandbrook is the perfect guide.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic book, 18 Mar 2013
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I bought this after watching the TV series. The book is excellent and vividly captures what was going on in the '70's, the era of my childhood. Very well written and keeps you interested throughout; will definitely buy more of Dominic sandbrook's books in the future.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Memories what memories!, 25 Sep 2012
By 
Andy O'Boogie (Widnes, Cheshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This book covers my age from 13 to 17. Those crucial teenage years. At the time you don't tend to take much notice of the news. Music, yes a golden period with Glam and prog rock at its height. This well written book puts everything into context. It makes you realize what a golden period it was for so many things, not just me with the music scene. I recommend this book for anybody interested in social history and anybody that was there at the time. It brings it all back. The three day week, power cuts, Slade, Sweet, David Bowie, Suzi Quatro, Pink Floyd, Genesis, colour tv's, strikes and Gary Glitter.
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State of Emergency: The Way We Were: Britain, 1970-1974
State of Emergency: The Way We Were: Britain, 1970-1974 by Dominic Sandbrook (Paperback - 26 May 2011)
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