Strange Days Indeed

Strange Days Indeed

The 1970s : the Golden Age of Paranoia

Book - 2010
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The 1970s were a theme park of mass paranoia. 'Strange Days Indeed' tells the story of the decade when a distinctive "paranoid style" emerged and seemed to infect all areas of both private and public life, from high politics to pop culture. The sense of paranoia that had long fuelled the conspiracy theories of fringe political groups then somehow became the norm for millions of ordinary people. And to make it even trickier, a certain amount of that paranoia was justified. Watergate showed that the governments really were doing illegal things andthen trying to cover them up.Though Nixon may have been foremost among deluded world leaders he wasn't the only one swept up in the tide of late night terrors. UK Prime Minister Harold Wilson was convinced that the security services were plotting his overthrow, while many of them were convinced he was a Soviet agent. Idi Amin and his alleged cannibalism, the CIA's role in the Chilean coup, the Jonestown cult, the Indian state of emergency from '75 to '77 and more are here turned into a delicious carnival of the deranged--and an eye-opening take on an oft-derided decade--by a brilliant writer with an acute sense of the absurd.
Publisher: New York : BBS/PublicAffairs, 2010
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781586488451
1586488457
Branch Call Number: 909.827 W571S 2010
Characteristics: 343 pages ; 24 cm

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A glib compendium of political events during the decade of the 1970s. Wheen's thesis is that the '70s gave us a culture of conspiracy and mass paranoia. (What about the '50s and McCarthyism?) The sections of the book devoted to the Tory government of Ted Heath and the Labour government of Harold Wilson are worthwhile. The problem with STRANGE DAYS INDEED is the emphasis is all wrong. Wheen rails against the New Left and focuses most of his attention on the early-to-middle parts of the decade, and therefore he only elliptically addresses the rise of Thatcher and Reagan. But that's the essential riddle of the '70s: How did we go from Kent State to "Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round The Ole Oak Tree"? From mass democratic social revolution to American exceptionalism and market fundamentalism? The people got punked and we've been frozen in the same deteriorating socio-economic paradigm ever since.

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