Recent british history

Were the Sixties really so liberated?

Lolita, the Lady Chatterley trial, the pill, Christine Keeler, ‘(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction’, love-ins, Oh! Calcutta!, the Oz trial — sex, even more than usual, was on people’s minds in the 1960s, that semi-mythical decade which, to stretch a point, lasted from the late 1950s to the early 1970s. That, anyway, is the plausible contention of Peter Doggett, whose Growing Up is a refreshingly undogmatic, well-researched and highly readable survey of some of the emblematic episodes and controversies surrounding the subject during these years. More detailed sociology would have been helpful — how, if at all, did everyday/everynight sexual practices and attitudes change in Barnsley, in Dunfermline, in Ashby-de-la-Zouch?