State Of Emergency, By Dominic Sandbrook

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The Independent Culture

This epically enthralling account of the Seventies will be read with embarrassed recognition by those who lived through it and disbelieving astonishment by those who missed it.

As the eagle-eyed Sandbrook reminds us, it was a time when the "comedy" Love Thy Neighbour was top of the TV ratings due to its racist gags. From the weird accent of Edward Heath to the "outrageous version of masculinity" purveyed by David Bowie (who confided in a 1973 interview, "I'm very normal"), the era is disinterred in all its grisly detail.

Born in 1974, Sandbrook is wide-ranging in his research but his suggestion that Delia Smith "later played down" the ploys in How to Cheat at Cooking (1971) was only temporarily true. She published a revised How to Cheat at Cooking in 2008.