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Front Porch Politics: The Forgotten Heyday of American Activism in the 1970s and 1980s Hardcover – September 17, 2013

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Activist-academic Foley offers a thoughtful alternative to stale conventional wisdom about what happened after the mid-twentieth-century’s decades of activism: both the “conservatism triumphant and liberalism vanquished” meme, and the “retreat from civil life” explanation. What did convince Americans to take action in the 1970s and ’80s? What Foley calls “front porch politics”: a sense of threat, an emotional reaction to that threat, and a search for practical solutions. Those threads, he argues, link the struggles of family farmers facing eviction and workers devastated by deindustrialization to the women’s rights and gay rights movements (and the pro-family movement that developed to oppose them); environmental battles from Love Canal and “No Nukes” to a new focus on environmental justice; and demands by people too poor to own a front porch—tenants, the homeless, people with AIDS—that their needs be addressed. Sadly, Foley suggests, many twenty-first-century Americans retain only “two of front porch politics’ least useful elements: rage and a thoroughgoing distrust of government.” Carefully researched and vividly written. --Mary Carroll

From Bookforum

By examining small-scale, local efforts, Foley builds a case that the sixties movements influenced civic action across the political spectrum, changing the look of democracy in the United States, at least for a while. Foley has done important work by assembling these disparate histories into a single, readable volume, and his snappy formulation of “front porch politics” helps advance an understanding of the era that cuts across well-worn ideological lines. —Sara Marcus

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Hill and Wang (September 17, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0809054825
  • ISBN-13: 978-0809054824
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.4 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #907,359 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By D on February 12, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Interesting, well researched, easy to read. A history book that you will want to read. As a student of history I am used to reading long dry narratives. This one, however, was fun to read.
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