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Publishers WeeklyThe 1970s emerge as a time of drift and chaos that nonetheless fundamentally realigned America, in this cogent, though not quite groundbreaking, study of the Ford and Carter presidencies. UC-Santa Barbara historian Kalman (The Strange Career of Legal Liberalism) thoroughly surveys the cultural, economic, and geostrategic shocks Americans endured in the'70s: the rise of feminism and the gay rights movement; racial controversies over affirmative action and forced busing; defeat in Vietnam and anxieties about declining American power; deindustrialization, unemployment, soaring inflation, and oil shortages. As Democrats and moderate Republicans floundered, Kalman contends, a New Right comprising neoconservative hawks, evangelicals, supply-siders, tax rebels, and conservative populists capitalized on these crises to mount a compelling attack on the liberal consensus. To Kalman, these developments are epitomized by the perpetually vacillating Gerald Ford and, especially, Jimmy Carter (who she paints as a devious, yet unprincipled and ineffectual figure) whose weak leadership paved the way for the triumph of Ronald Reagan's forceful conservatism. 8 pages of photos.
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