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The 1970s: A New Global History from Civil Rights to Economic Inequality (America in the World) Hardcover – November 20, 2011


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Product Details

  • Series: America in the World
  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (November 20, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691141568
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691141565
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.7 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #806,227 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"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

"Thomas Borstelmann provides us with a significant addition to a growing body of literature on the decade. More than an exhaustive survey of American politics, culture, and society in the seventies (a considerable achievement in itself), the study focuses on what Borstelmann brilliantly identifies as the central crux of the decade. . . . Borstelmann has written a thought-provoking, lucid, and at-times brilliant account of American culture, society, and politics in the seventies. . . . [I]f readers approach this book as the capacious and beautifully written history of the United States that it is, they will be richly rewarded."--Natasha Zaretsky, Diplomatic History

"Borstelmann is an excellent synthesis succeeded. His simple thesis offers explanatory power. It is also rarely overused. The beauty of this book is that Borstelmann can interweave different and quite different strands and topics to a text."--Frank Reichherzer, Sehepunkte

"Borstelmann's is a narrative that raises provocative questions. Moreover, it serves as an accessible overview of the 1970s, including political, social, diplomatic and cultural developments. I can easily imagine it being used in a classroom, where it could serve as a jumping-off point for deeper analysis of the important issues raised."--Brian Kennedy, Journal of Transatlantic Studies

From the Inside Flap

"The United States and the world have become more integrated and diverse during the last several decades, and this book helps us understand how that transformation came about. Borstelmann locates the origins of the contemporary world in the 1970s and presents by far the most comprehensive and persuasive portrait of that decade. Ranging from politics and ideology to economic globalization and religious fundamentalism, this book makes compelling reading."--Akira Iriye, Harvard University

"With brilliant insight and elegant, lively prose, Thomas Borstelmann makes sense of the seemingly incomprehensible contradictions and complexities of the 1970s. Demonstrating how the United States became both more and less equal, and linking this development to international trends, Borstelmann offers a magisterial global study of a decade that profoundly transformed America and the world. A must-read for anyone who wants to understand our past and present."--Elaine Tyler May, author of America and the Pill: A History of Promise, Peril, and Liberation

"This fascinating and important book shows how the United States simultaneously embraced both egalitarian norms and market principles in the 1970s--resulting in the paradoxical emergence of greater diversity and inclusivity right in tandem with soaring economic inequality. Profoundly thoughtful and beautifully written, The 1970s makes the compelling case that this pivotal decade gave birth to our contemporary political and social life."--Suzanne Mettler, Cornell University

"The importance of the 1970s in explaining contemporary America and large parts of the world cannot be overstated. Borstelmann makes a clear and compelling point about how the decade's developments shaped or played out over the remainder of the century and beyond. The breadth of the book's material is extremely impressive and utterly up-to-date."--Thomas Bender, author of A Nation Among Nations

"Offering a wide-ranging, general history of the United States in the 1970s, this book brings together a wealth of information, a lively and accessible style, and a persuasive thematic frame. There is no better introduction to this crucial and turbulent decade."--Daniel T. Rodgers, Princeton University


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Customer Reviews

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Religious fundamentalists also ended up accepting and even promoting market capitalism.
J.Z.
This book demonstrates well how the multicultural, inclusive values changes of this era greatly influenced the whole later course of American history.
Nancy B Chandler
If you are considering this book for research purposes, there is a very complete index and copious endnotes that make this a solid reference book.
artgrad

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Robin Orlowski on November 26, 2011
Format: Hardcover
The 1970's unfortunately gets a bad rap in history.

But Thomas Borstlemann argues instead of being embarrassed, we should give the 1970's another look. This decade should be reconsidered as a starting point for several of the modern issues, conveniences, and technologies which we regularly enjoy in the 21st century.

He touches on the birth of Apple Computer (p. 124, 140) which remains especially relevant considering founder Steve Jobs's recent death from pancreatic cancer. Jobs and colleagues had insisted that computers could be built small and effective enough for individual citizens to use in our private homes. And they were right!

The era also helped myself and other people with disabilities begin obtaining public access. The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 required publically-funded organizations to be accessible to qualified individuals with disabilities. This was different than previous laws ('Social Security') providing a stipend on a then-well-intentioned assumption we were automatically incapable of public sphere contribution.

And the Education for All Handicapped Children Act ('Special Education') made free and ability-appropriate education for all children with disabilities mandatory in the local public school district. Even people who are not disabled themselves today know that the local school district has a special education department.

This book sounds 'poppy' but it is actually a serious look at the decade's enduring impact. Individuals interested in American History, especially the era would get a lot out of it. Because they were talking about modern security, part of me wishes that the book had been revised in time to acknowledge Jobs's death just because of the impact which he ultimately had on technology.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By artgrad on September 10, 2012
Format: Hardcover
The subtitle of Borstelmann's book promises to provide "a new global history from civil rights to economic inequality," and he does a beautiful job throughout the book of explaining how, since the 1970s, a cultural shift toward greater inclusiveness has been coupled with laissez-faire capitalism that often actually results in greater inequities. Borstelmann's style is engaging, and I think a strength of this book is that he provides the right balance between hard facts, his interpretations of those facts, and pop culture references. He ties seemingly disparate issues and events together in a very clear, logical way, and he avoids jargon. I hate to use the phrase "fair and balanced," but that actually is another strength of this book. Borstelmann manages to present two sides of numerous contentious issues in a nuanced manner that avoids editorializing. I'm aware that all writers have their biases and Borstelmann's come through if you read between the lines, but the text is nuanced enough that readers with diverse ideas should still be able to take something away from this book. In short, I recommend this text because of its sheer accessibility: it manages to provide the reader with an enormous amount of information about the 1970s and its legacy without seeming at all stuffy or boring.

If you are considering this book for research purposes, there is a very complete index and copious endnotes that make this a solid reference book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I recommend "The 1970s" by Thomas Borstelmann highly because it is a comprehensive, thoughtful history of this era and interprets very well how great social change of the 60's in America reached a much wider part of American society in the 70's. This book demonstrates well how the multicultural, inclusive values changes of this era greatly influenced the whole later course of American history. Borstelmann gives the points of view of conservatives as well as his own progressive values, so that all Americans can recognize and find "The 1970s" consistent with their own memories. Borstelmann brings in a large number of key movies, incidents and philosophical issues that represent well the evolving values, ideals and principles of the 1970s. His book is written for the average citizen, so they can remember and reflect on changing social values and policy of Americans' collective history. Borstelmann is a deep thinker, who writes in an entertaining, highly readable style that has appeal to people from all social classes, occupations, and political philosophies. I recommend it for all people who wish to better understand the evolution of American values and political history.
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Format: Paperback
I read Borstelmann's book as background for better understanding the environmental movement of the 1970s. He shows that the decade featured a conflict between a push for free markets and hyper-individualism versus societal equality, with the former clearly winning out. Resistance to the market/hyper-individualism came from both environmentalism and religious fundamentalism.

Borstelmann argues that environmentalism provided a real but limited check on unfettered market activity. However, rather than fulfilling its potential to transform market capitalism and the U.S. government, environmentalism ultimately settled for promoting individual health and better consumer choices within the market system, thus limiting its impact. (Religious fundamentalists also ended up accepting and even promoting market capitalism.) See Ted Steinberg's Down to Earth for more on this critique of market approaches to environmentalism.

That summarizes my particular interest in the book, but there is much more. The 1970s were more fascinating and important than I knew. The year 1973 was particularly monumental. This book is very worthwhile for anyone trying to understand the recent roots of our time. Also see another great Borstelmann book, The Cold War and the Color Line.
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