Pub. Date:
New Press, The
Stayin' Alive: The 1970s and the Last Days of the Working Class

Stayin' Alive: The 1970s and the Last Days of the Working Class

by Jefferson R. Cowie
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An epic account of how middle-class America hit the rocks in the political and economic upheavals of the 1970s, this wide-ranging cultural and political history rewrites the 1970s as the crucial, pivotal era of our time. Jefferson Cowie’s edgy and incisive book—part political intrigue, part labor history, with large doses of American musical, film, and TV lore—makes new sense of the 1970s as a crucial and poorly understood transition from New Deal America (with its large, optimistic middle class) to the widening economic inequalities, poverty, and dampened expectations of the 1980s and into the present.

Stayin’ Alive takes us from the factory floors of Ohio, Pittsburgh, and Detroit, to the Washington of Nixon, Ford, and Carter. Cowie also connects politics to culture, showing how the big screen and the jukebox can help us understand how America turned away from the radicalism of the 1960s and toward the patriotic promise of Ronald Reagan. Cowie makes unexpected connections between the secrets of the Nixon White House and the failings of George McGovern campaign; radicalism and the blue-collar backlash; the earthy twang of Merle Haggard’s country music and the falsetto highs of Saturday Night Fever. Like Jeff Perlstein’s acclaimed Nixonland, Stayin’ Alive moves beyond conventional understandings of the period and brilliantly plumbs it for insights into our current way of life.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781565848757
Publisher: New Press, The
Publication date: 09/07/2010
Pages: 464
Product dimensions: 6.86(w) x 11.28(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

Jefferson Cowie is an associate professor of history at Cornell University. He is the author of Capital Moves: RCA’s Seventy-Year Quest for Cheap Labor (The New Press), which received the Philip Taft Prize for the Best Book in Labor History for 2000, and a co-editor of Beyond the Ruins: The Meanings of Deindustrialization. He lives in Ithaca, New York.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Something's Happening to People Like Me 1

Book 1 Hope in the Confusion, 1968-1974 21

1 Old Fashioned Heroes of the New Working Class 23

2 What Kind of Delegation Is This? 75

3 Nixon's Class Struggle 125

4 I'm Dying Here 167

Book 2 Despair in the Order, 1974-1982 211

5 A Collective Sadness 213

6 The New Deal that Never Happened 261

7 The Important Sound of Things Falling Apart 313

8 Dead Man's Town 357

Acknowledgments 371

Notes 375

Index 447

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Stayin' Alive: The 1970s and the Last Days of the Working Class 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
They are coming
Anonymous More than 1 year ago