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eBook The Sixties: Big Ideas, Small Books download

by Jenny Diski

eBook The Sixties: Big Ideas, Small Books download ISBN: 0312427212
Author: Jenny Diski
Publisher: Picador; First edition (September 1, 2009)
Language: English
Pages: 160
ePub: 1138 kb
Fb2: 1964 kb
Rating: 4.2
Other formats: azw lrf doc lrf
Category: Biography
Subcategory: Historical

Jenny Diski gave me more to contemplate in 134 pages of The Sixties than I could manage to willfully squeeze out of the last piece of popular literary fiction I read. It is clear after only a few sentences that Diski is a writer worth her salt, and why she was the one chosen to handle this topic.

Jenny Diski gave me more to contemplate in 134 pages of The Sixties than I could manage to willfully squeeze out of the last piece of popular literary fiction I read. Often the sixties are romanticized to the point of obscurity, those who lived through them trying to weave fame, and infamy, out of their psychedelic experiences

A brilliant, alternative take on sixties swinging London, Jenny Diski offers radical reconsiderations of the social, political, and personal meaning of that turbulent era. What was Jenny Diski doing in the sixties? A lot: dropping out, taking drugs, Get A Copy.

Diski's wry, pointed and honest look at the decade in which she and I and others became adults offers ample insight and memories joyful and sad for those of us who lived through the Sixties. Or maybe I am just blind to her irony?

Big Ideas, Small Books. Witty, provocative, and gorgeously written, Jenny Diski promises to feed your head with new insights about everything that was, and is, the sixties.

Big Ideas, Small Books. BIG IDEAS//small books. Connect with the author.

A brilliant, alternative take on sixties swinging London, Jenny Diski offers radical reconsiderations of the social, political, and personal meaning of that turbulent era. What was Jenny Diski doing in the sixties?

Now, as Diski herself turns sixty years old, she examines what has been lost in the purple haze of stalgia and selective memory of that era, what endures, and what has always been the same

The biggest of Diski’s big ideas is that liberation and libertarianism were not at all one and the same thing . A sense of deep disappointment pervades The Sixties.

The biggest of Diski’s big ideas is that liberation and libertarianism were not at all one and the same thing, that perhaps our own careless thinking gave a rhetorical foothold to the new world of rabid individualism and the sanctity of profit of the 1980s. Margaret Thatcher’s founding statement that ‘there is no such thing as society’ could easily be derived from the ‘self at the center’ of the ’60s. Diski concludes that the decade produced little in the way of transcendent art - the music, however, was undeniably as great as we thought it was - and that, contrary to the slogan, frequently the personal was the personal.

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 60s as if they were happening now, as if they were an ambiguous present. There are so many fixed ideas about the era, like badges on a lapel, but she stands by, ready to tweak slogans as required. She begins with "the personal is political", insisting that, actually, the personal was also always "personal"

The past is always an idea which people have about it after the event. Those whose job it is to tell the story of the past in their own present call it history.

The past is always an idea which people have about it after the event. Those whose job it is to tell the story of the past in their own present call it history he recollections of their parents or grandparents, or reading the historians, the past is a story, a myth handily packaged into an era, bounded by a particular event – a war, a financial crisis, a reign, a decade, a century – anything that conveniently breaks the ongoing tick of time into a manageable narrative

Many books have been written on the Sixties: tributes to music and fashion, sex, drugs and revolution. In The Sixties, Jenny Diski breaks the mould, wryly dismantling the big ideas that dominated the era - liberation, permissiveness and.

Many books have been written on the Sixties: tributes to music and fashion, sex, drugs and revolution. In The 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?

Many books have been written on the Sixties: tributes to music and fashion, sex, drugs and revolution.

Many books have been written on the Sixties: tributes to music and fashion, sex, drugs and revolution

A brilliant, alternative take on sixties swinging London, Jenny Diski offers radical reconsiderations of the social, political, and personal meaning of that turbulent era. What was Jenny Diski doing in the sixties? A lot: dropping out, taking drugs, buying clothes, having sex, demonstrating, and spending time in mental hospitals. Now, as Diski herself turns sixty years old, she examines what has been lost in the purple haze of nostalgia and selective memory of that era, what endures, and what has always been the same. From the vantage point of London, she takes stock of the Sexual Revolution, the fashion, the drug culture, and the psychiatric movements and education systems of the day. What she discovers is that the ideas of the sixties often paved the way for their antithesis, and that by confusing liberation and libertarianism, a new kind of radicalism would take over both in the UK and America.

Witty, provocative, and gorgeously written, Jenny Diski promises to feed your head with new insights about everything that was, and is, the sixties.

Comments: (7)
Morlunn
I have often wondered how to describe this period of time. Jenny Diski has mastered the reality (unreality) superbly. Has our treatment of the mentally ill really come much further than portrayed here? The section at the end devoted to education was at first a bit ponderous but education is at her heart and is the challenge we face as one generation transitions into the next. If you want to read more of this author, subscribe to the London Review of Books too. Four stars.
Opilar
Good book, good writer, great price
Black_Hawk_Down
I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in drugs, music and overall lifestyle of the 1960's both in America and England. It arrived promptly and in great condition.
Taun
Short romp through the sixties in Britain. Parallels with the US - sex and drugs. She doesn't mention that she escaped thanks to Doris Lessing, but has discussed this in later work.
catterpillar
GREAT!
Tat
I wish I could return this. I couldn't even get halfway through. Extremely boring.
Nahelm
Diski was there. She was institutionalised in psych houses, started a free school over a weekend, practiced "child-cented learning" in a comprehensive school in London's East End, bought and wore the clothes, took the drugs, had the sex, went to the protests & enjoyed the music.

This is a wonderfully clear-eyed appraisal of the era from the early 60s to early 70s in the UK.

It's not by any means a conservative recanting, more a re-appraisal of what the hell was going on and crucially from a woman's point of view.

Women always were the bring-a-plate (my expression) appendages to the revolution. Many words have been written about the Sixties by blokes, far fewer by the chicks who were there.

She talks about the nascent women's movement & gay lib.

It finishes by explaining how (but not blaming) the 60s led inexorably to the greedy 80s... sweeping the path. Liberation got confused with libertarianism.

It's a slim volume that packs a punch. Diski always manages to convey so much with an economy of words. A great loss to the world when she died in April this year.

(BTW I wasn't there til the tail end - my most fervent political activity began around 1975 when starting uni. It was a transition between "the sixties" and "the eighties"....at Sydney Uni the battle was between the political economists and those we dubbed "the accountants", led by one Tony Abbott)
I really enjoyed this book. I found it thought-provoking and interesting. Jenny sticks to her own experience, yet this is much more than a personal history. She doesn’t try to say too much or to write about what she does not know. She writes good sparse prose with no over-writing. There are only 139 pages of text but these are well worth reading.

She thoughtfully and reflectively draws out the strands of the Sixties that she experienced in London. This experience included: marching with CND from the age of fifteen, being in the front line of the infamous 1968 Grosvenor Square demonstration, three psychiatric inpatient admissions before she was twenty one, familiarity with both the psychiatry and anti-psychiatry of the times, living in a flat in Covent Garden, taking the drugs of the time with the mindset of the time (“No-one thought of the drug-taking as ‘recreational’. That was a later concept.”), waitressing in the Arts Lab, setting up a free school with a £20,000 Camden Council grant, teaching in a girls comprehensive school in Hackney, and awareness of just about everything that was going on at the time as only someone who is young and involved can be.

I give some quotes from the introduction to give you a flavour of the book. I apologise for their being taken out of context.

“The big idea we had – though heaven knows it wasn’t new - was freedom, liberty, permission, a great enlarging of human possibilities beyond the old politenesses and restrictions. But it was an idea we failed to think through. It was a failure of thought essentially, rather than a failure of the imagination. We were completely wrong-footed when the Sixties turned inexorably into the Eighties.”

“We really didn’t see it coming, the new world of rabid individualism and the sanctity of profit.”

“Perhaps the Sixties are an idea that has had its day and lingers long after its time. Except of course for the music.”

And here’s one of her reflections on the drug use of the time: “Drugs were just one means of getting through the fog of what ‘they’ called reality. A presently available technology for bypassing what they assumed was the ineluctable way of the world. It seemed pellucidly obvious that it could, with a bit of effort, become our way of our world, of a kind we chose to live the rest of our lives in, not theirs.”

I see from Wikipedia that in September 2014 Jenny Diski made public that she has been diagnosed with inoperable cancer. There is not much I can say. I wish I could say something intelligent. I wish her well.