40 of 46 people found the following review helpful
, 12 April 2010
This review is from: When the Lights Went Out: Britain in the Seventies (Paperback)
I suppose I'm in a minority, but I found this a rather predictable and plodding account of the decade and ended up skimming it from about a third of the way through. I agree with the other reviewer who called it 'pooterish'. Everytime he has been off to interview one of the people he cites, we have to read about what the weather was like, his journey (who cares if Beckett got picked up at Oxford station and driven in a Mercedes), and some cringe inducing, cliched descriptions of his interviewees faces, eyes, hair etc. The author continually tells us 'I was there, I spoke to Ted Heath, I sat in his garden picking my nose ...' and habitually he drones on about his journeys and the shallow observations they provoke 'I went back to the site of this 1970s event in 2005 and - hey, guess what - the building, landscape, road, people had changed. Well, I never! Profound'. All this waffle and we don't really get very much about the title 'When the lights went out' - those strange, dark days, full of rich tales still to be told. This is history lite, 'researched' from the most accessible sources. And, everything just kind of happens and unfolds. As others have said - there is no analysis, no insight, no critical reflection. It's really 'memories of the 1970s as recounted to me in 2005-06' and mainly by the predictable list of politicians, trade union leaders with very little about the experiences of ordinary people. If you lived through it, and worked in a factory, warehouse and office as I did, I think you'll be disappointed that the experience of the decade from that vantage point has, as usual, been neglected. I can't see this book telling you anything that has not already been said many, many times. Still, it's plastered in quotes from all the book reviewing luvvies in the intelligent person's newspapers, so who am I to quibble?
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