Crisis? What crisis? Britain in the 1970s

This is an imaginative and entertaining rediscovery of popular culture during the 1970s, says Nick Rennison, rescuing the decade from a perception of malaise

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Reviewed by: Nick Rennison
Author: Alwyn Turner
Publisher: Aurum Press
Price (RRP): £8.99 (paperback)

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How should the 1970s be remembered? The years when Britain lost its way economically and politically or a time when a realistic agenda for the future was first established? The decade that taste forgot or a golden age of popular culture? Commentators have been sniffy about the era of strikes and power cuts, Crossroads and glam rock.

Alwyn Turner is different. His history of the period between one Tory election victory (Ted Heath, 1970) and another (Mrs Thatcher nine years later) is characterised by affectionate reappraisal of cultural phenomena others have been swift to dismiss.

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He provides a concise overview of the troubled politics but also finds insights into the zeitgeist in unexpected sources like the sitcom Rising Damp, the career of wrestler Big Daddy, the music of the Bay City Rollers and Lord Longford’s anti-porn campaign. This is an adventurous and enjoyable reassessment of a much-maligned decade.