Strange Days Indeed \nby Francis Wheen \n4th Estate HK$161 When the Seventies began seems arbitrary. For some the decade commenced with the Manson murders in January 1971. For Francis Wheen, it started in 1973, when he moved to London and announced he had 'dropped out'. It was a time of blackouts, strikes, three-day work weeks, food shortages and general gloom, with books forecasting mass starvation owing to overpopulation. For Wheen, the flavour of the 70s was a 'melange of apocalyptic dread and conspiratorial fever', and this despite the distractions of disco (and punk), Uri Geller's spoon bending and great movies (The Godfather and Apocalypse Now among them). Wheen offers much material for his thesis that paranoia ruled worldwide, and that lunatics were in charge of the asylums. Among others, he writes about China's Chairman Mao. In the chapter Such Harmonious Madness, he describes Mao, who saw enemies everywhere, as a 'bubbling cauldron of fear and loathing'. This book, which follows a slew of recently published work that revisits the decade, underscores the ways in which 70s paranoia has had lasting effects. It's a volume to read and remember.