7

This was a UK paperback (maybe) with red words over a dark city on the cover, I read it mid eighties. Set in future America.

The protagonist may have been some sort of investigator, he dresses up with fake scars and biker clothes before he hits the streets.

All society is doing the same, they all go around projecting mean and menacing and looking violent. However it unfolds during the story that no actual acts of violence have happened for generations.

At a party they sit watching faked violence such as the last shootout from the Wild Bunch and murmur about old footage of boxing matches that are still rumoured to exist if you know the right people, nobody really has such.

A woman from 'our times' is being thawed out from a cryogenic vault and protagonist is detailed to be her escort ( I think he is her great great etc etc grandson) and she is asked by government to help out as the peace society is showing cracks.

She goes on a grand tour, even visiting a hippy commune where she assesses them all. She realises that, through lifelong conditioning and drugs in the food and water, aggressiveness is disappearing and people are getting too fearful . Even the police only use sleep sprays to catch thieves, etc.

She arranges head of state meetings with her secret weapon (a clenched fist held to people's faces) and begins the grand task of reintroducing violence to society by various means.

  • Do you know any names? – Neo Darwin Jan 6 at 21:10
7

This is likely to be E. C. Tubb's Century of the Manikin (1972). As summarized (probably from the cover blurb) at goodreads.com:

Peaceful, happy, non-violent . . . the perfect society?

Or was it? As Chief of Propaganda and Emotional Control, Joseph P. Lincoln had experience in coping with every potential threat to the system. But even he was ill-prepared to deal with the amazing woman from the past, whose arrival soon threw Lincoln's carefully ordered world into total chaos.

CENTURY OF THE MANIKIN is wise, witty and unique treatment of the problems of cryogenesis.

Based on your recollection of red letters on the cover, I would guess the 1975 edition (image via ISFDB):

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