Mad as Hell: The Crisis of the 1970s and the Rise of the Populist Rightby Dominic Sandbrook
Pub. Date: 02/14/2012
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
“I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore!” The words of Howard Beale, the fictional anchorman in 1976’s hit film Network, struck a chord with a generation of Americans. In this colourful new history, Dominic Sandbrook ranges seamlessly over the political, economic, and cultural high (and low) points of American/i>… See more details below
“I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore!” The words of Howard Beale, the fictional anchorman in 1976’s hit film Network, struck a chord with a generation of Americans. In this colourful new history, Dominic Sandbrook ranges seamlessly over the political, economic, and cultural high (and low) points of American life in the 1970s, exploring the roots of the fears, resentments, cravings, and disappointments we know so well today. From Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan to Anita Bryant and Jerry Falwell, he shows how the 1970s saw the emergence of a new right-wing populism, setting the stage for the bitter partisanship and near-total cynicism of our modern political landscape.
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If one wants to take a step back from the cacophony of the politicians, the pundits and the media (the categories are so mixed has become worrisome) he or she must read Mad as Hell. The book delves into a time when America was in trouble. All but few of its leaders, as well as the world at large, thought that America’s future was one “of limits.” Aren’t we happy that those predictions did not come to pass? The author has a great talent for analyzing the period in depth and without preconceptions. His is a narrative that keeps one spellbind and, if history and politics are what enchant the reader he or she be assured that both are present and well researched. The book helped me take a less spastic look at the present and also made me realized that as bad as our recession may be it is much lighter and less frightening than the one that gripped the 70’s. One think is sure: after reading this book you will be even less trustful of the politicians, the economists and the pundits who try to paint such a canvas of doom of the present without realizing how good we have it compared with the past. Dominic Sandbrook’s Mad as Hell should be required reading not only in college but in the boardrooms, Congress chambers and in the newsrooms.