State of Emergency : Britain 1970-74 is a brilliant history of the gaudy, schizophrenic atmosphere of the early Seventies. The early 1970s were the age of gloom and glam. Under Edward Heath, the optimism of the Sixties had become a distant memory.
Now the headlines were dominated by social unrest, fuel shortages, unemployment and inflation. The seventies brought us miners' strikes, blackouts, IRA atrocities, tower blocks and the three-day week, yet they were also years of stunning change and cultural dynamism, heralding a social revolution that gave us celebrity footballers, high-street curry houses, package holidays, gay rights, green activists and progressive rock; the world of Enoch Powell and Tony Benn, David Bowie and Brian Clough, Germaine Greer and Mary Whitehouse. Dominic Sandbrook's State of Emergency is the perfect guide to a luridly colourful Seventies landscape that shaped our present, from the financial boardroom to the suburban bedroom. 'Hugely entertaining, always compelling, often hilarious' Simon Sebag Montefiore, Sunday Telegraph 'Thrillingly panoramic ... he vividly re-creates the texture of everyday life in a thousand telling details' Francis Wheen, Observer 'Masterly ... nothing escapes his gaze' Independent on Sunday 'Splendidly readable ... his almost pitch-perfect ability to recreate the mood and atmospherics of the time is remarkable' Economist