by Brooke-Smith, James, Jack Smyth | c 1990 to c 2000
Hardback | 304 pages, 15 Illustrations, black and white
The 1990s was the decade in which the Soviet Union collapsed and Francis Fukuyama declared the ‘end of history’. Nelson Mandela was released from prison, Google was launched and scientists in Edinburgh cloned a sheep from a single cell. It was also a time in which the president of the United States discussed fellatio on network television and the world’s most photographed woman died in a car crash in Paris. Radical pop band The KLF burned a million quid on a Scottish island, while the most-watched programme on TV was Baywatch. Anti-globalisation protestors in France attacked McDonald’s restaurants and American survivalists stockpiled guns and tinned food in preparation for Y2
For those who lived through it, the 1990s glow in the memory with a mixture of proximity and distance, familiarity and strangeness. It is the decade about which we know so much yet understand too little. Taking a kaleidoscopic view of the politics, social history, arts and popular culture of the era, James Brooke-Smith asks – what was the 1990s? A lost golden age of liberal optimism? A time of fin-de-siecle decadence? Or the seedbed for the discontents we face today?