28 of 32 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: When the Lights Went Out: Britain in the Seventies (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)If The Sixties meant we'd never had it so good (as the Prime Minister told us) then The Seventies were where we paid for our pleasures. But memories of coal strikes, inflation and rotting rubbish in the street on the one hand, and flared trousers and T-Rex on the other don't really count as history - just as memory (and in some case, bad memories). Having had my memory of the period awakened by watching The Red Riding Trilogy I was pleased to read this wide-ranging and thoughtful history of the period. Like all good recent history it resorts the memory of those who lived through it, it adds some perspective to events, and it challenges their inevitability. I had forgotten whole sections of these events and misordered others.
Andy Beckett doesn't just give us the politics: Harold Wilson in his Gannex mac, Grocer Heath's almost tragic mismatch between personality and belief, Sunny Jim Callaghan and a perhaps not yet quite Iron Lady, but certainly galvanised. He also takes us through social change like the rise of Women's Lib and Gay Lib and of environmentalism. Yet at the end of it all one wonders what it was that snapped Britain out of that left-wing consensus into (within a few years) a right-wing semi-consensus. Was it North Sea Oil? Was it just a "changing of the guard"? Or is all politics and economics simply a tidal sea in which trends wash in and wash out.
A very enjoyable and thought-provoking book.