The Unsung Sixties. Memoirs of Social Innovation

Book Cover - Unsung SixtiesBy Helen Curtis and Mimi Sanderson.
Whiting & Birch
ISBN 1861770448

Curtis and Sanderson have gathered an astonishing range of oral testimonies to show that there was another side to that decade apart from David Bailey, the Beatles, Carnaby Street, mini skirts and the Oz trial. Not that social change and fame are always mutually exclusive. The energy and entrepreneurial forces that produced the music, style and hedonism also inspired the social innovation.

But while so much of the 1960s now looks dated and faded, here we have a reminder of something that seems exciting even now. Crisis, Centrepoint, the Simon Community, the Child Poverty Action Group, Gingerbread, and many others were born then and thrive now – largely, alas, because the problems they sought to tackle also remain.

Those who tell their stories – Elizabeth Hoodless, Tim Cook, Sonia Jackson, to mention those who have become well known – feel the same passions, have moved on to new campaigns, found other ways of expressing their ideals or, for a few, have stayed where they started.

This is a book which is amusing and moving. The 1960s were about passion and idealism. The authors show us how that was channelled to such inspiring effect.

Terry Philpot is a freelance writer.

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