Jenny Diski at her essayistic best in a highly personal and entertaining exploration of the twentieth century's most colourful decade.
Many books have been written on the Sixties: tributes to music and fashion, sex, drugs and revolution. InThe Sixties, Jenny Diski breaks the mould, wryly dismantling the big ideas that dominated the era - liberation, permissiveness and self-invention - to consider what she and her generation were really up to. Was it rude to refuse to have sex with someone? Did they take drugs to get by, or to see the world differently? How responsible were they for the self-interest and greed of the Eighties?With characteristic wit and verve, Diski takes an incisive look at the radical beliefs to which her generation subscribed, little realising they were often old ideas dressed up in new forms, sometimes patterned by BIBA. She considers whether she and her peers were as serious as they thought aboutchanging the world, if the radical sixties were funded by the baby-boomers'parents, and if the big idea shaping the Sixties was that it really felt as if it meant something to be young.
Jenny Diski is the acclaimed author of numerous works of fiction and non-fiction. Her journalism has appeared theSunday Times,ObserverandLondon Review of Booksamong others. She lives in Cambridge.
'Jenny Diski is one of Britain's sharpest social commentators, her writing distinguished by its bleak wit, its honesty and acerbity.The Sixtiesis Diski at her most characteristically brilliant', Michelle Roberts, FT
'Eloquent and probing ... entertaining and accurate', Robert Irwin, Independent
'I loved this book because it reminded me of so many small aspects of the Sixties I'd forgotten ... surely it is better to have been a failed idealist than never one at all? Her book made me feel proud to be a Sixties relic', Lynn Barber, Daily Telegraph
'This book at once recalls the decade in a way that those who experienced it will recognise and is a singular rethink of that time. Diski is not polemical or doctrinaire. Her writing is calm and wry and her gift is for thinking about the Sixties as if they were happening now, as if they were an ambiguous present ... One of the many pleasures of her writing is that she somehow manages to be old and young at the same time ... Involving, buoyant, thought-provoking', Kate Kellaway, Observer
'Diski was in at the deep end, involved with almost all the trends and fashons ... Her testimony comes as close as any to frontline reporting of what was going on. And what was going on was serious ... Diski's life catches the full flavour. Yet she survived the mayhem to become a wise and sceptical judge.This is as excellent and honest a guide as you will find through the myths and often misremembered days.', Joan Bakewell, The Times
'Stimulating', Peter Lewis, Daily Mail
'[Diski] is excellent on that sense of wilful rebellion. No one has written better about the contempt with which the counter-culture viewed the'straight'world ... her mixture of hard-won experience and intelligent reflection sets her study well beyond the clichés', Andrew Lycett, Sunday Telegraph
'The Sixtiesis a valuable reference book and compendium; Diski cites and quotes most of the important movers and wits of the time. For those of us who were there too, it is solid, dry material to dilute with our own memories. And stir', Irma Kurtz, Guardian
'She says it with intelligence, wit, an eye for detail and an ability to laugh at her young self... Ms Diski leaves you with plenty to think about, and wanting more.', International Herald Tribune
'Irresistible ... warm, witty, wryly provocative ... a funny, charming book, notable among memoirs of the period for being neither obdurately defensive about the Sixites'nonsense, nor melodramatically regretful about its excesses', Andrew Mueller, The Times
'It's a measure of her brilliant style and searching inquiry that the reader is left demanding her next instalment', Listener, New Zealand