The 1970s looks at an iconic decade when the cultural left and economic right came to the fore in American society and the world at large. While many have seen the 1970s as simply a period of failures epitomized by Watergate, inflation, the oil crisis, global unrest, and disillusionment with military efforts in Vietnam, Thomas Borstelmann creates a new framework for understanding the period and its legacy. He demonstrates how the 1970s increased social inclusiveness and, at the same time, encouraged commitments to the free market and wariness of government. As a result, American culture and much of the rest of the world became more--and less--equal.
Borstelmann explores how the 1970s forged the contours of contemporary America. Military, political, and economic crises undercut citizens' confidence in government. Free market enthusiasm led to lower taxes, a volunteer army, individual 401(k) retirement plans, free agency in sports, deregulated airlines, and expansions in gambling and pornography. At the same time, the movement for civil rights grew, promoting changes for women, gays, immigrants, and the disabled. And developments were not limited to the United States. Many countries gave up colonial and racial hierarchies to develop a new formal commitment to human rights, while economic deregulation spread to other parts of the world, from Chile and the United Kingdom to China.
Placing a tempestuous political culture within a global perspective, The 1970s shows that the decade wrought irrevocable transformations upon American society and the broader world that continue to resonate today.
"Keeping contemporary history timely and accessible, Borstelmann shows the significance of 1970s politics, culture, and religion on the following decades. . . . The author's sterling commentary on the rise of the feminist movement, the decline of the Soviet empire, and the New Christian right's courtship of Capitol Hill sets this book apart from other surveys of the 'Me Decade.' Nuggets of genuine insight without any social agenda are found frequently within these pages."--Publishers Weekly
"[T]his is an ambitious and important work that skillfully analyzes all aspects of the seventies and defines its legacy for present times."--Karl Helicher, ForeWord Reviews
"What sets this book apart . . . is the author's global approach, making clear that by the 1970s, while other countries may not have seen the US as the preeminent world leader it had been, it was very much a part of a world in which, thanks largely to technological advantages, boundaries of time and space and even culture were collapsing. Borstelmann also concisely brings readers to the present, concluding that while Americans have become less racist and sexist and more tolerant of diversity and difference, they have as a nation allowed economic inequality to reach near-epic proportions--in other words, the 1 percent versus the 99 percent."--Choice
"Used as a text to enter the field of 1970s U.S. history the book excels and should receive wide readership. The study is accessible, very well written and incorporates much recent 1970s literature. . . . The 1970s is an important addition to the growing body of literature focused on the decade."--Nick Blackboum, 49th Parallel
"[I]ntelligent and well crafted."--William L. O'neill, Pacific Historical Review
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