An author talk with

James Riley – ‘Well Beings: How the Seventies Lost Its Mind and Taught Us to Find Ourselves’

Wednesday 3rd April 2024 at 6:30pm

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Join us for an evening with writer and University of Cambridge academic James Riley, where he’ll be discussing his brand new book ‘Well Beings: How the Seventies Lost Its Mind and Taught Us to Find Ourselves’.

James Riley, author of the cult hit The Bad Trip: Dark Omens, New Worlds and the End of the Sixties, returns with another incisive and thought-provoking cultural history, turning his trenchant eye to the wellness industry that emerged in the 1970s.

Concepts such as wellness and self-care may feel like distinctly twenty-first century ideas, but they first gained traction as part of the New Age health movements that began to flourish in the wake of the 1960s. Riley dives into this strange and hypnotic world of panoramic coastal retreats and darkened floatation tanks, blending a page-turning narrative with illuminating explorations of the era’s music, film, art and literature.

Well Beings delves deep into the mind of the seventies – its popular culture, its radical philosophies, its approach to health and its sense of social crisis. It tells the story of what was sought, what was found and how these explorations helped the ‘Me Decade’ find itself. In so doing, it questions what good health means today and reveals what the seventies can teach us about the strange art of being well.