14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
A definitive and witty history of a fascinating movement,
By A Customer
This review is from: All Dressed Up: The Sixties and the Counterculture (Paperback)
The 1960s counterculture was the most exraordinary and enthralling social phenomenon of modern times. Based around the interviews he conducted for his classic oral history of the milieu, 'Days in the Life' (1988), Green's new book, while peppered with sardonic reflections from the vantagepoint of hindsight and worldly maturity, effectively conveys the sheer exhilaration of this seminal, idealistic, quintessentially youthful movement. All aspects of the counterculture in England (i.e. London plus a few free festivals) are covered - not just the usual story of psychedelic rock music, but performance poetry, anti-psychiatry, gay liberation, White Panthers, pop art, Grosvenor Square protests, the Angry Brigade, the Oz trial and much else. The author utilises his knowledge as a lexicographer to write with a rare stylish wit, offering shrewd, well-measured judgements without ever becoming too dry for the casual reader. The fact that Green was there himself - as an editor of Friends, Oz and IT - adds a keenness to the history, without rendering it unbalanced or self-indulgent. 'All Dressed Up' provides us with lessons from the days when radicals of all persuasions felt that the future was on their side. The counterculture provided its fair share of tragedy, bigotry and banality, but its sheer idealism contrasts so markedly with modern-day cynicism that it is hard not to envy those whose lives it enrichened. We can't revive the sixties, but we can all learn from what happened then, and the best way to do so is to read 'All Dressed Up', a thoroughly entertaining story of an inspiring cultural adventure.
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