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American Culture in the 1970s

Will Kaufman

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The 1970s was one of the most culturally vibrant periods in American history. This book discusses the dominant cultural forms of the 1970s - fiction and poetry; television and drama; film and visual culture; popular music and style; public space and spectacle - and the decade's most influential practitioners and texts: from Toni Morrison to All in the Family, from Diane Arbus to Bruce Springsteen, from M.A.S.H. to Taxi Driver and from disco divas to Vietnam protesters. In response to those who consider the seventies the time of disco, polyester and narcissism, this book rewrites the critical engagement with one of America's most misunderstood decades.

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Contents

List of Figures
List of Case Studies
Acknowledgements
Chronology of 1970s Culture
Introduction: The Intellectual Context
1. Fiction and Poetry
2. Television and Drama
3. Film and Visual Culture
4. Popular Music and Style
5. Public Space and Spectacle
Conclusion: Rethinking the 1970s.

About the Author

Will Kaufman is Professor of American Literature and Culture at the University of Central Lancashire and a founder of the Maastricht Center for Transatlantic Studies in the Netherlands. He is the author of The Comedian as Confidence Man: Studies in Irony Fatigue (1997) and The Civil War in American Culture (2006).

Reviews

Extensively researched and lucidly written, Will Kaufmann's American Culture in the 1970s is a pleasure to read and learn from and deserves a place on the shelf of every Americanist and in all libraries with collections of American Studies. Invaluable as an introduction to a vibrant decade demanding renewed critical scrutiny. or to American Studies in general, the book guides us through the turbulent 70s while providing a solid basis for further reading and research.
- Donald E. Morse
Will Kaufman's American Culture in the 1970s belongs on the shelf of every Americanist and in all libraries with collections of American Studies. Invaluable as an introduction to that 'vibrant decade demanding renewed critical scrutiny' or to American Studies in general, the book guides us through the turbulent 70s while providing a solid basis for further reading and research. Kaufmann constructs a spirited debate with those who have written off the decade as narcissistic (Christopher Lasch) or hedonistic (Daniel Bell) demonstrating as he goes the 'momentous strides [that] were taken across a range of social and political landscapes' and the variety and richness of the culture. He focuses, for instance, on Watergate Hearings as theatre, film (Taxi Driver, Star Wars), spectacular sports ('The Rumble in the Jungle,' King's defeat of Riggs), literature (Carver, Mamet), photography (Diane Arbus), pop culture (Warhol), and music (Springsteen, Disco). Extensively researched and lucidly written American Culture in the 1970s is a pleasure to read and learn from.
- Donald E Morse, Emeritus Professor of English and Rhetoric, Oakland University, USA and Distinguished University Professor of American, Irish, and English Literature, Debrecen University, Hungary

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