Sixties Britain: Culture, Society, and Politics
Did the world change in the 1960s? Were there really sexual, political and cultural revolutions? Was Britain in step with the world or not? The debate about the sixties has long been overheated, polarised between those who see the decade as a 'golden age' and others who blame it for today's apparent social ills. "Sixties Britain" explores the real sixties, providing a detailed discussion ranging across pop, politics, postmodernism, fashion, feminism, foreign policy and much else besides, to show why it was a decade of such dramatic change, but not for the reasons usually cited.
Steering away from the ideologically charged accounts of Britain during this time, Donnelly neither romanticises nor demonises this most controversial of decades. He revisits assumptions about the decade and presents a more nuanced and engaging history of Britain in the sixties.
"Sixties Britain" brings together discussion of culture, society and politics, and concludes that the sixties left four main developments of lasting consequence:
- The modern consumer economy was established, reaching across the social and generational divides as never before and transforming popular culture.
- The growing preoccupation with individual autonomy changed the ways in which individual and civil rights were understood.
- The full impact of post-war New Commonwealth immigration began to be felt, and many found it uncomfortable.
- Finally, Britain turned away from Empire and moved towards Europe a direction that remains contentious forty years on.
Mark Donnelly is senior lecturer in history at St Mary's College. He has taught a wide range of courses on modern British, European and United States history. He has also appeared on radio and TV programmes about contemporary British society and culture. His is author of "Britain in the Second World War "(1999).