Book Review: The New York Times, The Times of the Seventies: The Culture, Politics, and Personalities that Shaped the Decade

The New York Times the Times of the Seventies by Clyde Haberman

The New York Times, The Times of the Seventies: The Culture, Politics, and Personalities that Shaped the Decade, edited by Clyde Haberman is a three hundred and sixty page pictorial history of the the 1970s. The decade unfolds in New York Times articles and pictures.

It is an amazing decade put into a heavily illustrated book. It was a decade of very high highs and low lows. 18 year olds got the right to vote, but still were forced to die in Vietnam. Capital punishment was declared unconstitutional, but four died at Kent State. We lost a vice president and a president to resigning in the face of criminal charges. We had our first president, who was not elected. Women were more than movie stars (and Farah): Eva Peron ran Argentina. Patty Hearst, kidnapped, then became a bank robber. Squeaky Fromme tried to assassinate Ford. Margret Thatcher was the prime minister of Britain. Mother Theresa won the Nobel Peace Prize. Minorities rose. Hank Aaron broke Babe Ruth’s home run record and OJ Simpson became a hero in that decade.

World events were televised and in most people’s living rooms. We saw violence in Vietnam and Cambodia. We watched he IRA reign terror in Ireland and saw the bodies in Jonestown. Francisco Franco died and Chevy Chase reminded us weekly on Weekend Update that he was still dead. Adi Amin rose and fell in Uganda. Mao died after opening relations with the United States. The first Polish pope was elected after a very short reigns of the previous two.

Memories come flooding back to me : Gas lines, Stagflation, Visa becomes a credit card. Star Wars. Earth Day, Serpico, Studio 54. Walkmans, DTT ban, Space exploration. Polaroids, Three Mile Island, test tube baby, Pentagon Papers, All the Presidents Men. Hendrix, Elvis and Morrison died. Punk Rock came alive and Sid Vicious died. Jaws, Rocky, and the Deer Hunter. Monday Night Football, The Waltons, Happy Days, Roots. Andy Worhol, Platform shoes, Perrier, Light Beer. Roller disco, jogging suits, leasure suits. Mohamed Ali, Nadia Comaneci , Renee Richards. There is a tidal wave of memories in this book and I only scratched the surface.

If you lived through the 1970s this is an absolutely must read book. We think we remember everything, but this book will show how much the reader has actually has forgotten. The history flows smoothly, and is divided into very practical sections. The 70s were very influential in my life. They formed the environment of my youth. Reading The Seventies took me back and reminded me where I came from and what formed my views. A very worthwhile read and history

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