Something Happened: A Political and Cultural Overview of the Seventies [NOOK Book]

Overview

According to Edward D. Berkowitz, the end of the postwar economic boom, Watergate, and Vietnam all contributed to an unraveling of the national consensus in 1970s America. His unique history-which touches on everything from the decline of the steel industry to the blossoming of Bill Gates, from Saturday Night Fever to the Sunday morning fervor of evangelical preachers-argues that the postwar faith in sweeping social programs and a global U.S. mission was replaced in the 1970s by a more skeptical attitude toward ...

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Something Happened: A Political and Cultural Overview of the Seventies

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Overview

According to Edward D. Berkowitz, the end of the postwar economic boom, Watergate, and Vietnam all contributed to an unraveling of the national consensus in 1970s America. His unique history-which touches on everything from the decline of the steel industry to the blossoming of Bill Gates, from Saturday Night Fever to the Sunday morning fervor of evangelical preachers-argues that the postwar faith in sweeping social programs and a global U.S. mission was replaced in the 1970s by a more skeptical attitude toward the government's ability to affect society positively. Berkowitz explores the decade's major political events and movements, including the rise and fall of détente, congressional reform, changes in healthcare policies, and the hostage crisis in Iran. He traces the "rights revolution," in which women, gays and lesbians, and people with disabilities all successfully fought for greater recognition. He argues that reaction to these social movements as well as the issue of abortion led to the rise of powerful, politically conservative religious organizations and activists. Written by an accomplished historian of modern America and a longtime Washington insider, Something Happened is an engaging look at an important and previously unappreciated decade.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
The 1970s used to be considered either the decade when "nothing happened" or the inward-looking "Me Decade." Of course, a lot did happen during the 1970s, as such recent books as Stephanie A. Slocum-Schaffer's America in the Seventies and Bruce J. Schulman's The Seventies: The Great Shift in American Culture, Society and Politics have shown. Now Berkowitz (history, public policy & administration, George Washington Univ.; Robert Ball and the Politics of Social Security) may have written the best of the lot. Borrowing his title from Joseph Heller's long-awaited second novel, Berkowitz defines the Seventies as the period from 1973 to 1981, a time that he sees as both transitional and truly transformational in U.S. history. He focuses chiefly on the political and economic events that fed into the rise of Reaganomics and social conservatism, but he also addresses the popular culture of the time, including the movies and television programming (which he calls the "reassurance of the familiar"). While readers will be familiar with the litany of problems and crises in the 1970s-Watergate, gasoline shortages, abortion politics, Three Mile Island, and the hostages in Iran-Berkowitz links these and other events to Americans' loss of faith in politicians and to a crisis of competence on the part of the government (reflected in both the Ford and Carter administrations). Further, he believes that the decade marked the end of individual and national self-confidence, both of which President Reagan partially restored in the 1980s. An illuminating chapter addresses the impact of feminism and the "rights revolution" on American society. An ambitious study that is still concisely focused and very readable, this will stand as the definitive book on the 1970s for some time to come. Highly recommended.-Thomas A. Karel, Franklin & Marshall Coll. Lib., Lancaster, PA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Los Angeles Times

A very unsettling cautionary tale.

— Erik Himmelsbach

Financial Times

Berkowitz... has boldly attempted to put a troubled decade into proper perspective in this concise and useful summary.

— Peter Aspden

Blade

An interesting look at a tumultuous time.

— Jules Wagman

Christian Science Monitor

Contrary to popular wisdom, "Something Happened" in the 1970s, and Berkowitz helps us remember what that was and why it still matters.

— Terry Hartle

Orange County Register

A strong case that the '70s deserve far more attention than they have received.

— Terry hartle

Sunday Constitution

Quite a lot happened in the 1970s and this may be the concise, yet definitive account.

Associatedcontent.com

An essential map for what is perhaps the most misunderstood decade of the twentieth century.

Westside Chronicle

Berkowitz has provided an essential map to what is perhaps the most misunderstood decade of the twentieth century.

— Eve Lichtgarn

Choice

Scholarly, judicious, and readable... Highly recommended.

The Journal of American History

A concise glimpse of the era... Something Happened one of the better surveys to have appeared about a significant decade.

— Yanek Mieczkowski

History

Edward Berkowitz offers a highly readable account of a decade that tends to get overlooked.

— M. J. Heale

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231500517
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 1/22/2006
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 296
  • File size: 951 KB

Meet the Author

Edward D. Berkowitz is professor of history and public policy and public administration at George Washington University. He is the author of eight books and the editor of three collections. During the seventies he served as a staff member of the President's Commission for a National Agenda for the Eighties, helping President Carter plan for a second term that never came to be.

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Table of Contents

1 Nixon, Watergate, and presidential scandal 12
2 Vietnam and its consequences 32
3 Running out of gas : the economic downturn and social change 53
4 The frustrations of Gerald Ford 71
5 Congress and domestic policy in the age of Gerald Ford 84
6 Jimmy Carter and the great American revival 104
7 The rights revolution 133
8 The me decade and the turn to the right 158
9 The movies as cultural mirror 178
10 Television and the reassurance of the familiar 198
11 The end of the seventies 219
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 12, 2012

    For some the 1970s is so far away it seems to have been another

    For some the 1970s is so far away it seems to have been another world but it is necessary to have us remember once in a while that the hardship experienced now is but a walk in the park compared to the recession and social upheavals of the seventies.
    At the same time, as the author shows, the ’70 not only liberated the women it awake in them the power to ask for all that it was theirs by right.
    The ‘70s, or the tail end of them, was when the computer became smaller and the electronic revolution started to speed up its pace.
    ‘70s are also the time when terrorism was at its peak in the world and the world fought back not with armies but with clever policing. Terrorism disappeared because the people where neither swayed by the ideas of the extremist ideologies nor cowered by the seemingly disregard for human life that the terrorist showed. Nothing destroys a political movement faster than its unattractive message.
    The author has succeeded to write a very informative book that reads as a good thriller. One really wants to get to the next page to see how our parents (or even ourselves, young and inattentive to the world at large) survive what was thought at the time the weakening of civilization and pauperization of the developed world.
    It is shown in the book that every idea or movement that starts with the premise that humanity is doomed has history to hold it to its right place in the museum of ridicule ideas.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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