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Post 1945 American History

5 Books | by Mahammatt Baba

Stayin' Alive

Stayin' Alive

Books

An epic account of how working-class America hit the rocks in the political and economic upheavals of the '70s, Stayin' Alive is a wide-ranging cultural and political history that presents the decade in a whole new light. Jefferson Cowie's edgy and incisive book - part political intrigue, part labor history, with large doses of American music, film, and TV lore - makes new sense of the '70s as a crucial and poorly understood transition from the optimism of New Deal America to the widening economic inequalities and dampened expectations of the present. Stayin' Alive takes us from the factory floors of Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Detroit to the Washington of Nixon, Ford, and Carter. Cowie 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 '60s and toward the patriotic promise of Ronald Reagan. He also makes unexpected connections between the secrets of the Nixon White House and the failings of the George McGovern campaign, between radicalism and the blue-collar backlash, and between the earthy twang of Merle Haggard's country music and the falsetto highs of Saturday Night Fever. Cowie captures nothing less than the defining characteristics of a new era. Stayin' Alive is a book that will forever define a misunderstood decade.

All in the Family

All in the Family

Books

In the 1960s, Lyndon Johnson's Great Society and War on Poverty promised an array of federal programs to assist working-class families. In the 1980s, Ronald Reagan declared the GOP the party of "family values" and promised to keep government out of Americans' lives. Again and again, historians have sought to explain the nation's profound political realignment from the 1960s to the 2000s, five decades that witnessed the fracturing of liberalism and the rise of the conservative right. The award-winning historian Robert O. Self is the first to argue that the separate threads of that realignment—from civil rights to women's rights, from the antiwar movement to Nixon's "silent majority," from the abortion wars to gay marriage, from the welfare state to neoliberal economic policies—all ran through the politicized American family.Based on an astonishing range of sources, All in the Family rethinks an entire era. Self opens his narrative with the Great Society and its assumption of a white, patriotic, heterosexual man at the head of each family. Soon enough, civil rights activists, feminists, and gay rights activists, animated by broader visions of citizenship, began to fight for equal rights, protections, and opportunities. Led by Pauli Murray, Gloria Steinem, Harvey Milk, and Shirley Chisholm, among many others, they achieved lasting successes, including Roe v. Wade, antidiscrimination protections in the workplace, and a more inclusive idea of the American family.Yet the establishment of new rights and the visibility of alternative families provoked, beginning in the 1970s, a furious conservative backlash. Politicians and activists on the right, most notably George Wallace, Phyllis Schlafly, Anita Bryant, and Jerry Falwell, built a political movement based on the perceived moral threat to the traditional family. Self writes that "family values" conservatives in fact "paved the way" for fiscal conservatives, who shared a belief in liberalism's invasiveness but lacked a populist message. Reagan's presidency united the two constituencies, which remain, even in these tumultuous times, the base of the Republican Party. All in the Family, an erudite, passionate, and persuasive explanation of our current political situation and how we arrived in it, will allow us to think anew about the last fifty years of American politics.

The Fifties

The Fifties

Books

This vivid New York Times bestseller about 1950s America from a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist is “an engrossing sail across a pivotal decade” (Time). Joe McCarthy. Marilyn Monroe. The H-bomb. Ozzie and Harriet. Elvis. Civil rights. It’s undeniable: The fifties were a defining decade for America, complete with sweeping cultural change and political upheaval. This decade is also the focus of David Halberstam’s triumphant The Fifties, which stands as an enduring classic and was an instant New York Times bestseller upon its publication. More than a survey of the decade, it is a masterfully woven examination of far-reaching change, from the unexpected popularity of Holiday Inn to the marketing savvy behind McDonald’s expansion. A meditation on the staggering influence of image and rhetoric, The Fifties is vintage Halberstam, who was hailed by the Denver Post as “a lively, graceful writer who makes you . . . understand how much of our time was born in those years.” This ebook features an extended biography of David Halberstam.

The Seventies

The Seventies

Books

Most of us think of the 1970s as an "in-between" decade, the uninspiring years that happened to fall between the excitement of the 1960s and the Reagan Revolution. A kitschy period summed up as the "Me Decade," it was the time of Watergate and the end of Vietnam, of malaise and gas lines, but of nothing revolutionary, nothing with long-lasting significance. In the first full history of the period, Bruce Schulman, a rising young cultural and political historian, sweeps away misconception after misconception about the 1970s. In a fast-paced, wide-ranging, and brilliant reexamination of the decade's politics, culture, and social and religious upheaval, he argues that the Seventies were one of the most important of the postwar twentieth-century decades. The Seventies witnessed a profound shift in the balance of power in American politics, economics, and culture, all driven by the vast growth of the Sunbelt. Country music, a southern silent majority, a boom in "enthusiastic" religion, and southern California New Age movements were just a few of the products of the new demographics. Others were even more profound: among them, public life as we knew it died a swift death. The Seventies offers a masterly reconstruction of high and low culture, of public events and private lives, of Jonathan Livingston Seagull, Evel Knievel, est, Nixon, Carter, and Reagan. From The Godfather and Network to the Ramones and Jimmy Buffett; from Billie jean King and Bobby Riggs to Phyllis Schlafly and NOW; from Proposition 13 to the Energy Crisis; here are all the names, faces, and movements that once filled our airwaves, and now live again. The Seventies is powerfully argued, compulsively readable, and deeply provocative.

American Empire

American Empire

Books

A landmark history of postwar America and the second volume in the Penguin History of the United States series, edited by Eric Foner In this momentous work, acclaimed labor historian Joshua B. Freeman presents an epic portrait of the United States in the latter half of the twentieth century, revealing a nation galvanized by change even as conflict seethed within its borders. Beginning in 1945, he charts the astounding rise of the labor movement and its pitched struggle with the bastions of American capitalism in the 1940s and '50s, untangling the complicated threads between the workers’ agenda and that of the civil rights and women’s movements. Through the lens of civil rights, the Cold War struggle, and the labor movement, American Empire teaches us something profound about our past while illuminating the issues that continue to animate American political discourse today.

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