- Hardcover: 451 pages
- Publisher: Jonathan Cape Ltd; Reprint edition (5 Nov. 1970)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0224619632
- ISBN-13: 978-0224619639
- Package Dimensions: 21.8 x 14.5 x 4.1 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 555,581 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Pendulum Years: Britain and the Sixties Hardcover – 5 Nov 1970
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"It is brilliant. It is all true. A remarkable achievement... with a wit that even the victims may recognise." -- Economist --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Bernard Levin was one of the leading journalists of the latter half of the 20th century. In his glittering career he wrote for the Spectator, the Guardian, the Daily Express and Daily Mail, the New Statesman and the New York Times. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Levin's witty and irreverent comments had me laughing out loud on many occassions throughout the book but rather than just being nasty, cynical snipes of the type you could expect from today's diarists, his was formed from a studied knowledge of the various characters. For too long we have been taking the sixties and its so called revolution far too seriously, Levin helps debunk its position in our psyche and presents it as a cacophony of conmen, charlatans and filthy operators. If you want to look back at the main figures and events that made the sixties swing then is the book for you.
What starts out as an interesting satirical and mocking tone becomes so unbearable that it was hard to get past the first 50 pages. But I plowed on in search of some redeeming feature. Eventually I learned to read the first sentence of each paragraph and then skip all the turgid detail and self-congratulatory analysis which conveyed the inevitable message: Aren't I clever, weren't they stupid...!"
Despite all the copious research that evidently went into this book, the author manages to overlook (or dismiss) so many significant events or turning-points in the 1960s. For example, he never mentions the introduction of color TV and alternatives to the BBC; TV advertising; the launch of Coronation Street; the amazing creativity of multiple"groups" whose music survives even now; the Moon Landing (dismissed summarily); the persistence of the mini-skirt throughout a long decade and its liberating effect on girls and women aged from 12 to 72; the entry of more and more young women into university; the growth of foreign travel through package holidays; and on a profoundly negative note, the entrenched racism against people of color and immigrants from the Commonwealth; and on and on.
Many times I felt as though the author had muddled up his view of the 60s with the 70s (eg. supposed weekly / monthly changes in fashion). On the contrary there was definitely a 60s look -- see any of the Bond movies for confirmation.
So, all in all, a big waste of time. The author could have delivered his piece in under 100 pages.
Erudite and witty but he is guilty of the very accusation he charges others with:a bit of a wind bag apt to take himself and the decade a tad too seriously.