Penguin £12.99 (522pp) £11.69 from the Independent Bookshop: 08430 600 030
The Morbid Age, By Richard Overy
Friday 23 July 2010
Contrary to the view of the inter-war period as an era of cocktail-powered partying, Overy insists that it had "a strong presentiment of impending disaster". He starts his unexpectedly jolly catalogue of gloom with Oswald Spengler, whose Decline of the West, for Louis Mumford, "whispered the soothing words, downfall, doom, death".
Regarding Hollywood as "morbid", psychologist Cyril Burt advocated such uplifting films as Solving Canada's Fuel Problem for children. Concern about public health led the Hygienic Stores to suggest that early sex would cause men to become "partially bald, dim of sight".
Overy's absorbing account of dystopian punditry might be profitably read by the going-to-hell-in-a-handbasket contingent of our own time.
BBC Trust agrees to axe channel from TV in favour of digital moveTV
Final Top Gear reviewTV
FestivalsFive ways to avoid the portable toilets
Jurassic WorldThe results are completely brilliant
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 David Cameron refers to 83-year-old Labour MP Dennis Skinner as 'Jurassic Park'
- 2 iPhone 7 (or iPhone 6S) leaked pictures show similarities to older model — but Apple is fixing the biggest issue of all
- 3 'Help me I'm trapped in a factory' messages keep being found on bottles of vitamin water
- 4 German ethics council calls for incest between siblings to be legalised by Government
- 5 Alwaleed bin Talal: Saudi Prince to donate entire $32bn fortune to charity
Game of Thrones season 6: Daenerys actress Emilia Clarke says '50/50 chance' Jon Snow is alive
Amy, film review: Beautiful film reveals ugly truth behind singer's downward spiral
'Dukes of Hazzard' pulled from screens by CBS as outcry over Confederate flag grows
London Has Fallen trailer release branded 'extremely insensitive' ahead of 10th anniversary of 7/7 bombings
What if Nicolas Cage played every character in Game of Thrones?
The moment a Queen's Guard soldier lost it and drew his gun at annoying tourist
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert