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Mad as hell : the crisis of the 1970s and the rise of the populist Right
Dominic Sandbrook
Adult Nonfiction E865 .S26 2011

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Inspired by the famous scene in Network in which TV watchers howl their inchoate rage, historian Sandbrook (Eugene McCarthy) offers a shrewd, sparkling politico-cultural history of post-Watergate America. Sandbrook locates the decade's heart in the popular distrust and subsequent resentment of all institutions-governments, corporations, and unions. The individualism that results, Sandbrook argues, resonates with the roots of evangelicalism and develops into the beginnings of right-wing Christian populism. This fertile if not entirely original take on the era offers insightful interpretations of 1970s watersheds, from Jimmy Carter's canny "outsider" presidential campaign to property-tax revolts and battles over school busing and the ERA. Sandbrook sets his chronicle against a panorama of gasoline lines, stagflation, and epochal changes in race relations, women's roles, and sexual mores, woven together with cultural touchstones from Bruce Springsteen to Charlie's Angels. Sandbrook's account of right-wing populism as a mass phenomenon, fed by real grievances over social and economic turmoil and a pervasive sense of decline, largely misses the role of business interests; still, his subtle, well-written narrative of wrathful little guys confronting a faltering establishment illuminates a crucial aspect of a time much like our own. Photos. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

From Library Journal:

"I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore," screamed antihero Howard Beale in the 1976 blockbuster motion picture Network. British historian Sandbrook (Eugene McCarthy: The Rise and Fall of Postwar American Liberalism) uses this iconic jeremiad to aptly portray the decade that featured a populist resurgence against big government. The book is mostly the story of three unpopular Presidents-Nixon, Ford, and Carter-but Sandbrook describes many more outlets for public rage: Watergate, crime, busing, inflation, job loss, the Iranian hostage crisis, and antigay and antifeminist backlashes. This social turbulence led to the further demise of liberalism and the emergence of Sunbelt conservatism that continues to define the Republican Party. Sandbrook also shows how films, TV, books, music, and even the Dallas Cowboys contributed to the spirit of the times. His book compares favorably to Jefferson Cowie's excellent Stayin' Alive: The 1970s and the Last Days of the Working Class, which investigates the fall of labor during the decade. VERDICT A summation of the events and social upheavals would have been helpful, yet Sandbrook offers a compelling narrative, reminiscent of William Manchester and Theodore White, that will engross general readers and scholars. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 9/1/10.]-Karl Helicher, Upper Merion Township Lib., King of Prussia, PA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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