“Strange Days Indeed: The Golden Age of Paranoia,” by Francis Wheen, reflects that politicians may be paranoid now, but it's nothing compared to what happened in the ‘70s. “Wheen, one of the brighter lights in English lit-journalism these days, makes a potent and rollicking case that the ‘1970s shrieked.’ Paranoia was the zeitgeist. From the spring in 1970 when Nixon invaded Cambodia, to 1979, when the Islamic Revolution drove out the Shah and Mrs. Thatcher threw the Labour Party out of power, everyday order went smash almost everywhere from strike-damaged Britain to culturally revolutionary China, from Idi Amin, who while murdering 300,000 Ugandans took time out to declare himself ‘Member of the Excellent Order of the Source of the Nile, Lord of All the Beasts of the Earth and Fishes of the Sea and Conqueror of the British Empire,’ to Frederick Forsyth’s African coup attempt to promote a novel (or was it the other way round?). The ’70s were a horror show, a pastiche of ‘apocalyptic dread and conspiratorial fever,’ a freak show as crazy-sublime as it was murderous.”