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43 of 45 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Past is a Foreign Country; They Do Things Differently There, 22 Oct. 2008
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This review is from: Crisis, What Crisis?: Britain in the 1970s (Hardcover)
Not only is it a foreign country, but in certain aspects of society, it may as well be another planet. Revisiting 70s Britain, a time ruled by pipe-smoking PMs and trade union bogeymen such as Scargill and Gormley, a time when the nation huddled each evening around 3 TV channels, rubbish mountains piled up in Leicester Square, when the whole country seemed close to collapse, seems like entering a parallel universe and is portrayed well in Turner's book.

Is it true, as has been advanced by many commentators, that here in the early part of the 21st century, we are repeating history and returning to the upheavals of the 70s? A read through of Crisis? will show the reader that the real mood of despair and havoc wreaked by the turmoil of the 70s is still much worse than the current situation (I hope!). But if you think we could be returning to those dark days, then a read through of Crisis? may well be good primer for what to expect.

As well as the political and economic aspects of the decade, Turner takes time to guide us through the cultural life of the 70s, from what was on the box, songs in the charts and the books we were reading. In this respect, one of amazing things I learnt was that Mary Whitehouse's campaign to clean up the media was fuelled by a belief that obscenity in the media was a communist strategy driven and funded by Moscow to ultimately overthrow British society, inspired by what her husband had read in the Old Testament!

The one major shortcoming of the book was that I felt it needed the influencing hand of a good editor - chapters that were supposed to be on certain subjects, started to wander off into other areas, before clumsily returning to the relevant subject matter, rather in the manner of a 1977 Austin Princess skidding about on an icy road!

But after recounting all these negative aspects of the 70s, let me end by recalling one piece of research conducted in 2004 that Turner quotes on his 1st page; namely that people in Britain were happier in 1976 than at any time since. Makes you think, doesn't it?
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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 25 Jan 2009 15:23:52 GMT
I was certainly happier in 1976 than at any time since. That lovely hot summer was the best I've ever known.

Posted on 23 May 2009 09:07:30 BDT
Last edited by the author on 23 May 2009 09:09:50 BDT
I can always remember as a small boy,way back in 1975, when our family moved into a new housing estate built in a market town in Oxfordshire. The houses people were buying were 3 and 4 bed semis with front and back gardens with a garage and drive. A million miles from the rabbit hutches of today. For many couples this was their FIRST home (the idiotic housing "ladder" didn't exist back then) I can clearly remember all of the couples with new families around us only requiring ONE parent to work and make ends meet. My Mum and all of my mates Mums stayed at home to raise their kids. When we went to the dentist it was all free and when any of us were ill, a doctor came to our house!! University was free to all and there was a much fairer system of rates. People knew one another and famillies had time to spend together. Nowadays, we are all richer but our young people have the lowest quality of life in any developed EU nation.

Haven't we come a long way???

Posted on 24 Apr 2012 11:47:54 BDT
I was born in 1962 and so the Seventies was probably the decade that contributed most to my growth in to adulthood.We did not "Hudle round the tv as there were only three channels",we had better tv then than now and did not miss what we had never expected to have. During the miners strike TV went off at 22.30-so what ?,Tv finished at midnight anyway!.It was also the decade in which Glam,Heavy,Prog,Disco,Reggae and Punk rock came to fruition,not to forget American bands like the Eagles and Bread,no other decade can boast such variety.
From a personal point of view the eighties was the decade i wish had not had to live through as i was one of the 3 million unemployed and we had a Government who thought it was a price worth paying for low inflation.
Was it a different country?,yes it was.Was it a better Country?-as a whole yes, it was and a m glad i lived through it.

In reply to an earlier post on 29 Mar 2013 08:19:17 GMT
Me too Kevin. It was the happiest summer of my seemed never ending. I spent the whole time out with my mates on my Chopper bike without a care in the world.

Posted on 9 Oct 2014 01:51:28 BDT
RayG says:
In hindsight, Mary Whitehouse was far less barmy than I thought at the time. When we all laughed at her, little did we realise just how vulgar things would become in the 21st century.
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Location: Slough, Berkshire, United Kingdom

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