Alice Echols has never shied away from controversy. Long before it was fashionable, she wrote searing critiques of antiporn feminism. Her subsequent books about the 1960s are trenchant and provocative, and written with unflinching honesty. Now she maps an alternative history of contemporary American culture, taking on such subjects as hippies, gay/lesbian and women's liberation, disco and the racial politics of music, and artists as diverse as Joni Mitchell and Lenny Kravitz. Echols upends many of our bedrock assumptions about American culture since the 1950s, challenging in particular the notions that the '60s represented a total rupture with the past and that the '70s marked the end of meaningful change.
About the Author
Alice Echols, author of Scars of Sweet Paradise: The Life and Times of Janis Joplin and Daring to Be Bad: Radical Feminism in America, has written for The Nation, The Village Voice, Newsday, and L.A. Weekly.
Table of Contents
Part I: Postwar America and the 1960s: The Long, Strange Trip
1. Hope and Hype in Sixties Haight-Ashbury
2. The Ike Age: Rethinking the 1950s
Part II: Feminism, Sexual Freedom, and Identity Politics
3. "We Gotta Get Out of This Place'': Notes Toward a Remapping of the Sixties
Part III: Turn the Beat Around
4. "Nothing Distant About It'': Women's Liberation and Sixties Radicalism
5. The Dworkinization of Catharine MacKinnon
6. "Totally Ready to Go'': Shulamith Firestone and The Dialectic of Sex
The Taming of the Id: Feminist Sexual Politics, 1968–1983
8. Queer Like Us?
9. "Thousands of Men and a Few Hundred Women'': Janis Joplin, Sexual Ambiguity, and Bohemia
10. Gender Disobedience, Academia, and Popular Culture
11. "Shaky Ground'': Popular Music in the Disco Years
12. White Faces, Black Masks
13. The Refuge of the Lions' Den: An Interview with John Paul Hammond
14. "Play That Funky Music'': An Interview with Lenny Kravitz
15. "The Soul of a Martian'': A Conversation with Joni Mitchell
What People are Saying About This
It's hard to put down a book that opens with the 1969 Woodstock motto: 'Eat Shit! Ten Million Flies Can't be Wrong!' and proceeds from there to describe the humor, the pathos, the clumsiness, and the courage of a generation that has been much written about, but seldom understood. Alice Echols is that rarest of breeds: a great historian and a great writer. There are no dull momentsand much wisdomin her brilliantly eclectic collection of essays and interviews. She captures, as no one else has, the dizzingly absurd complexity of American culture and cultural politics in our times.
Addressing a rich array of topicsfrom 1960s counterculture, to the beginnings and convolutions of contemporary feminism, to the cross-racial politics of rock and the syncretism of popular cultureEchols brilliantly combines her personal investments and involvement with trenchant historical observation.
Echols is a wonderful historian and an acute cultural critic. Shaky Ground is full of illuminating juxtapositions of politics and culture, and important insights into both the recent past and the unsettled present.