Mod by Richard Weight
A Very British Style

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But to be reductive about it, the Mod ideal boils down not just to a kind of neurotic self‑respect, but an emphasis on sharpness...And in that sense, this rambling book is so unlike its subject that it ends up missing its target, by miles.
-Guardian

Synopsis

Welcome to the world of the sharp-suited Mods. The Italianistas. The moped-riding, all-night-dancing instigators of what became, from its myriad sources, a Very British Culture.

But Mod was so much more than this. It wasn't just the suits. It wasn't just the consumerism or the hedonism. Mod was the DNA that formed the music, fashion, art and architecture of the latter half of the twentieth century.

Mod became a symbol of post-imperial British culture. It began life as the quintessential working-class movement of affluent Britain -- the conspicuous consumption of clothes, records and drugs were an assertion of individuality and an expression of discontent with the snobbery and prudery of British life. It was a popular cult that transformed into a mainstream phenomenon; a style that became a revolution.

Richard Weight tells the story of Britain's biggest and most influential youth cult, from its origins in the Soho jazz scene of the 1950s through to its explosion amid Beatlemania in the 1960s. Along the way he takes in the many influences that shaped it: from Be-Bop Jazz to RnB and Soul and Jamaican Ska, together with French and Italian fashion, Anglo-American Pop Art and continental Dadaism. And finally, Weight examines Mod's relationship hippie escapism, punk iconoclasm and eventually the politics of the far-right, as the cultural nationalism that Mod had spawned took on a more sinister form. As a result, Mods were condemned by moralists of the left and right alike.

Several decades on from the original Mod generation, today's fashion and music industries still pay tribute to those early days. Mod's journey from moral panic to commercial manipulation, from violent reaction to nostalgic remodeling, testifies to its enduring legacy.
 

About Richard Weight

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RICHARD WEIGHT is the author of "Patriots: National Identity in Britain 1940-2000 "and co-authored "Modern British History: The Essential A-Z Guide." He studied history at Trinity College, Cambridge, and went on to do a PhD at University College, London. He is currently a Professor at the University of Boston and is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. Richard also makes documentaries for radio and television on many aspects of British life.
 
Published April 15, 2013 by Bodley Head. 496 pages
Genres: History, Arts & Photography, Political & Social Sciences.
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Critic reviews for Mod
All: 2 | Positive: 1 | Negative: 1

Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Ian Thomson on Apr 06 2013

Mod, well-written throughout, crackles with reflections on fashion, music and film, as these became the giant pop art project of the far-distant 1960s and beyond.

Read Full Review of Mod: A Very British Style | See more reviews from Guardian

Guardian

Below average
Reviewed by John Harris on Mar 14 2013

But to be reductive about it, the Mod ideal boils down not just to a kind of neurotic self‑respect, but an emphasis on sharpness...And in that sense, this rambling book is so unlike its subject that it ends up missing its target, by miles.

Read Full Review of Mod: A Very British Style | See more reviews from Guardian

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