9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Well Written Story Of Somewhat Maligned Decade,
This review is from: When the Lights Went Out: Britain in the Seventies (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)The 70's are seen by some as the poor relations to the 60's. A time when the hopes of the Summer Of Love went sour, and the seeds of the age of self that was the 80's were sown. Andy Beckett's well written and highly readable history seeks to redress the balance. It's a job he succeeds in doing well. Drawing on personal testaments he seeks to tell the story of some of the key moments of the decade - the Grunwick dispute, the 3 day week, the winter of discontent - and also explores the roots of feminist thought, the Green movement, and gay rights along the way he shows that Britain wasn't quite the dull place it might have appeared to be during this decade. Alongside this he speaks to, and brings to life some of the key political events and personalities of the decade.
Beckett tracks down the key protagonists in each event and gets a personal view on the situation. It's as much a piece of reportage as it is a history book. The focus is as much on the storytelling elements as the historical fact. By taking this approach he gives both context to the time and the people themselves. Their stories are bought to life by telling their story and what happend after their time in the spotlight ended, giving a contemporary context to the story. In fact reading this at the cusp of a decade, some of its tales eerily resemble current events. It will be interesting in the future to see if this book, written about a specific time, becomes a commentary on the time it was written in.
The lasting impressions of the book are how vividly Beckett brings his subject matter to life. This is as much a story as a history and it is both well told and very engaging.