Strange Days: Cold War Britain


I have noticed that there has been very heavy traffic through this site in the last two days, which I now realise is connected to Dominic’s new series on Britain and the Cold War Strange Days (BBC2, 9pm Tuesday).  I will catch up with this on iPlayer (here) and put up a review in later today.  So watch this space.


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4 Responses to Strange Days: Cold War Britain

  1. Kiern Moran says:

    Strange Cold War video, alright I guess if slanted. I did not learn anything new. Thought it odd that Sandbrook went out of way to say Burgess and McClain didn’t commit treason because they were homosexual. Thanks for that clarification. Selectively quotes Bevin’s argument for a nuclear bomb. Makes no reference to the Labour Party increasing its share of the vote between 1945 and 1951 and not losing any by-elections, though lots of clips of people complaining about rationing. Claims Orwell’s ‘greatest novel’ is 1984, perhaps it is the one he has read? Sandbrook gives impression that social democracy and the welfare state, he neglects to mention the NHS created by Labour government (odd that), was to prevent communism.

  2. says:

    Have been appreciating your blog. I’m a postgrad-unemployed student at Glasgow Uni. I work on sex and culture in Scotland in the 1960s and 1970s. Dominic doesn’t have that much to say about Scotland so we’ll presume its outside his mental universe. I had the pleasure of assessing his thoughts on the sexual revolution as part of my MLitt thesis recently and wondered if you’d like a critical commentary on them? In brief, D argues that the sexual revolution did not happen prior to 1970 and dates it to the introduction of oral contraception (despite the fact that this theory has been convincingly challenged in recent years) -also ignoring regional and national variations within Britain. D’s rejection of the idea of the ‘long sixties’ leads him to argue that the sexual revolution didn’t happen before 1970 and then in the following book- State of Emergency- he argues that it DID after all but but that this was somehow a bad thing- ‘the ravages of permissiveness’. If you’d like, I could write quite a bit about this and DM’s use of sources, bias and reactionary agenda?

    • Charlie,
      It is quite ironic that, beyond the 1978 World Cup, Dominic has very little to say about Scotland. His point that 1960s only happened for a few in parts to London could be an interesting starting point for investigating how cultural change spreads unevenly geographically (and it also differentiated by ethnicity, gender, age etc.), but as ever he just states that it didn’t happen, if I recall the main evidence being that people were tending their gardens and watching Dads’ Army. And as you say, he is then forced to admit that it had happened by the 1970s but then makes an entirely political and untheorised judgement.

      And yes, I would be quite happy to have guest bloggers. I have been thinking of restructuring the page a bit to make it clearer, but it can just go in the stream. Just send me the copy over and I’ll post it up (unless it is libellous). It’s best to keep things in bites of less than 1,000 words (people will not read more), advice that I should heed more myself.

  3. cormo says:

    Hey Matthew, great blog. I thought I was the only one who had issues with Sandbrook’s so called “historical” programmes.
    I would love to read‘s assessment of Sandbrooks “work” on the sexual revolution. Have you posted it anywhere on the blog yet?

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