The Seventiesby Bruce J. Schulman
Pub. Date: 05/14/2001
Publisher: Free Press
Most of us think of the 1970s as an "in-between" decade, the uninspiring years that happened to fall between the excitement of the 1960s and the Reagan Revolution. A kitschy period summed up as the "Me Decade," it was the time of Watergate and the end of Vietnam, of malaise and gas lines, but of nothing revolutionary, nothing with long-lasting significance.… See more details below
Most of us think of the 1970s as an "in-between" decade, the uninspiring years that happened to fall between the excitement of the 1960s and the Reagan Revolution. A kitschy period summed up as the "Me Decade," it was the time of Watergate and the end of Vietnam, of malaise and gas lines, but of nothing revolutionary, nothing with long-lasting significance.
In the first full history of the period, Bruce Schulman, a rising young cultural and political historian, sweeps away misconception after misconception about the 1970s. In a fast-paced, wide-ranging, and brilliant reexamination of the decade's politics, culture, and social and religious upheaval, he argues that the Seventies were one of the most important of the postwar twentieth-century decades. The Seventies witnessed a profound shift in the balance of power in American politics, economics, and culture, all driven by the vast growth of the Sunbelt. Country music, a southern silent majority, a boom in "enthusiastic" religion, and southern California New Age movements were just a few of the products of the new demographics. Others were even more profound: among them, public life as we knew it died a swift death.
The Seventies offers a masterly reconstruction of high and low culture, of public events and private lives, of Jonathan Livingston Seagull, Evel Knievel, est, Nixon, Carter, and Reagan. From The Godfather and Network to the Ramones and Jimmy Buffett; from Billie jean King and Bobby Riggs to Phyllis Schlafly and NOW; from Proposition 13 to the Energy Crisis; here are all the names, faces, and movements that once filled our airwaves, and now live again. The Seventies is powerfully argued, compulsively readable, and deeply provocative.
- Free Press
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Table of Contents
Introduction: The Sixties and the Postwar Legacy
PART I "WE'RE FINALLY ON OUR OWN," 19691976
1. "Down to the Nut-Cutting": The Nixon Presidency and American Public Life
2. E Pluribus Plures: From Racial Integration to "Diversity"
3. "Plugging In": Seeking and Finding in the Seventies
4. The Rise of the Sunbelt and the "Reddening" of America
PART II "RUNNIN' ON EMPTY," 19761979
5. Jimmy Carter and the Crisis of Confidence
6. "This Ain't No Foolin' Around": Rebellion and Authority in Seventies Popular Culture
7. Battles of the Sexes: Women, Men, and the Family
PART III "HIP TO BE SQUARE," 19781984
8. "The Minutemen Are Turning in Their Graves": The New Right and the Tax Revolt
9. The Reagan Culmination
Conclusion: End of the Seventies, End of the Century
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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I was rather disopointed with 'The Seventies.' Although the author did a very good job telling facts about the 1970's decade, he never brought those ideas together to crystalize what they meant. There were never any conclusions made about what kind of impact the 70's had on the rest of history, or how it emulated another decade's general mood. It was very interesting learning about the gender war during the seventies, which one portion of the book explored, but the author never established why it hadn't occurred during any other decade, or what was so significant about it. It would have been very interesting if the author had provided information as to why the country was ready for a gender rights movement during the 1970's. WHile the author began to explain it's impacts to the feminist movement today, it was a little confusing during the book as to what kind of effects Friedan, KIng and and Schlafly are having now on the feminist or antifeminst movement of today. Another idea that I wish the author had explained more was the general mood of the 1970's. From what I picked up in the book the 1970's were a time of discovering one's inner self, and then making sure one had the options in the world to do whatever one liked. I wish the author had stated what in the prevous decades set these people up for this mindset, and if the mindset has gone away or not. Furthermore, I think the author should have shown that all aspects in the 70's contributed to the common attitude. To do that he would have had to connect the ideas in the book more fluidly. The last problem I had with the book was that is was sporadic and had no order. THe chapters were divided by concept, but the author never proved that the concepts were related, or that the order he wrote in was coherent. Not only did this take away from my concentration in the book, but it took away from the effectiveness of the writing. Had the chapters and thoughts been organized I think think I would have gotten a much clearer idea of what 'THe Sevneties' were (was) about.