By Francis Wheen
Unusual Days certainly tells the tale of ways the paranoia exemplified by means of Nixon and Wilson grew to become the defining attribute of western politics and tradition within the 1970s.
Francis Wheen will vividly evoke the characters, occasions and surroundings of an period within which the reality used to be a long way stranger than even the main outlandish fiction.
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24 The notion of a fundamental and once-only economic transition was sustained even more strongly by work of the 1950s ancfearly 1960s on economic development. Against the backcloth of increasing Western prosperity the literature of this period was marked by a preoccupation with growth models which might assist development policies for the Third World. Inequalities of wealth and power between different areas of the world were largely explained by the idea that the speed and timing of industrialisation varied: England was first, others followed, and the less developed laggards would eventually catch up.
M. Weber, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (London, 1930); R. H. Tawney, Religion and the Rise of Capitalism (London, 1926). 41 D. C. MeClelland, The Achieving Society (Princeton, 1961); E. E. Hagen, On the Theory of Social Change (London, 1964). 42 Ashton, Industrial Revolution, p. 19. 40 Perspectives on the Industrial Revolution 23 business success and encouraged favourable social attitudes to upward mobility because it was not obviously occurring at the expense of others. 43 As Samuel Smiles suggested: 'Anybody who devotes himself to making money body and soul can scarcely fail to make himself rich.
36 The Industrial Revolution workers' politics and the divided Labour party easier to explain as an extension of long-term factors affecting the ideology of the working class. 84 A dominant interpretation now is that the triumph of the bourgeoisie in economic and political life, traditionally regarded as a hallmark of the industrial revolution, is a myth. Variously expressed by writers such as Weiner and Anderson, it is suggested that England's present lack of commitment to a growth mentality can be traced back to the industrial revolution when the patrician land-based society never gave way to the new industrialism.
Strange Days Indeed: The Golden Age of Paranoia by Francis Wheen