Top positive review
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An entertaining waltz through the past.
on 25 December 2010
For those of us of a certain age - around the 40 mark - this book will resonate and illuminate a turbulent time in our history, a time when the country changed beyond all recognition, a time when old values clashed against the new permissive society that split Britain apart like a packet of Spangles. This superb, and timely book, charts the decline of the Heath government between the years 1970-74, in all its arrogant glory, as Britain collapsed from within.
For me, the Seventies were a great time, Doctor Who, Battle & Action comic and dozens of war films - what more could a boy wish for?
However, whilst I was enjoying watching and reading Jerry getting a bashing, Britain was falling apart at the seems; riots in Ireland, race tensions between black and white, corruption in the higher echelons of government, football hooliganism on the terraces and the explosion of pornography and of Mary Whitehouse - a combination definitely not made in heaven.
Apart from the above, the Seventies also saw a boom in the areas of feminism and the book reflects that with a cutting chapter on the rise of militant feminist doctrine - showing that birds who read books made a telling and lasting impression on the decade that taste forgot.
Dominic Sandbrook has done men and women of my age a great service with State of Emergency, as it fills in the gaps that Warlord and Commando left out; how industrial relations hit an all time low, how Don Revie cocked up the England team and how Metro Land took over suburbia. Dotted throughout the book are mentions of TV shows, records and films that serve to remind the reader `oh yeah, I remember that...' every couple of pages or so, a clever idea that bonds the writer with the reader.
So, if you like your history with passion, humour and cutting edge insight, this is the book for you. The Seventies have been rightly pilloried in the past but this book puts the record straight - they really were a bizarre time to live through, especially for the adults.