How We Got Here: The 70's: The Decade that Brought You

How We Got Here: The 70's: The Decade that Brought You


10 thoughts on “How We Got Here: The 70's: The Decade that Brought You Modern Life (For Better or Worse)

  1. Kim Fay Kim Fay says:

    The 1970s 1 was 4 through 14 during this decade I remember pretty much every crazy song, fad and TV show from the era My memories of that time are personal with the exception of a few major events long lines at gas stations, Jim Jones, the Iran hostage crisis , and because I was just young enough, I am fascinated to read about how the 1970s fit into a 20th century historical context I will get my complaint about this book out of the way first at times the author made conservative stat The 1970s 1 was 4 through 14 during this decade I remember pretty much every crazy song, fad and TV show from the era My memories of that time are personal with the exception of a few major events long lines at gas stations, Jim Jones, the Iran hostage crisis , and because I was just young enough, I am fascinated to read about how the 1970s fit into a 20th century historical context I will get my complaint about this book out of the way first at times the author made conservative statements that broached offensive to me But these moments were few, and overall, this book is a thoughtful must read for anyone interested in exploring how the 1970s and not the 1960s fed many of the greatest social changes in modern America For being an overview of the decade, How We Got Here is surprisingly in depth I learned a lot from it, and it introduced me to a lot of events and issues that I was to research further


  2. Richie Richie says:

    I give this book three stars not because it is good it is not , but because I am a fan of the book length jeremiad My copy is thoroughly stained with red ink, margin notes like seriously or oh please or WRONG , and dog ears on pages with particularly hilarious quotes That all too recurrent late twentieth century moment in which a disgraced public figure tearfully informs us that God has forgiven him occurred far less often in thebracing moral clime of half a century ago p.155 I give this book three stars not because it is good it is not , but because I am a fan of the book length jeremiad My copy is thoroughly stained with red ink, margin notes like seriously or oh please or WRONG , and dog ears on pages with particularly hilarious quotes That all too recurrent late twentieth century moment in which a disgraced public figure tearfully informs us that God has forgiven him occurred far less often in thebracing moral clime of half a century ago p.155 or In 1937, Walt Disney had his Snow White pray to an unmistakably Christian God The religion in Pocahontas and The Lion King is, however, strictly pagan p.165.This book is a howler


  3. Parenthetical Grin Parenthetical Grin says:

    I disagree with Frum, on nearly every point the exception being his discussion of the implications of confessional culture But the writing style and the content make it a very enjoyable read, and it offers good insights into rightist political imaginaries.


  4. Don Incognito Don Incognito says:

    This is a popular history of the 1970s, with the thesis that the 1970s sociocultural changes are responsible for today s modern attitudes and social conditions.Part I concerns a widespread collapse of trust in many institutions, especially government and civil authorities Frum believes the collapse started with Vietnam, was intensified by Watergate, and branched out from distrust of the federal government into a distrust of civil government and civil authorities A web of petty corruption scand This is a popular history of the 1970s, with the thesis that the 1970s sociocultural changes are responsible for today s modern attitudes and social conditions.Part I concerns a widespread collapse of trust in many institutions, especially government and civil authorities Frum believes the collapse started with Vietnam, was intensified by Watergate, and branched out from distrust of the federal government into a distrust of civil government and civil authorities A web of petty corruption scandals appeared on all levels, from the presidency to various civil officials and the police were no longer believed competent or honest.Part II At midcentury and before, Americans had a fairly strong devotion to duty But around 1970, the ethic of responsibility fell apart, and was replaced by a very brazen ethic of self centeredness.This allowed such things as an explosion in no fault divorces, and many blatant expressions of self centeredness in advertising and pop culture such as a bestseller on self centeredness titled Looking Out For Number One and commercials with taglines like This I do for me Because the worst effect of the new self centeredness was in marriage, the old linear progression of flirting to courtship to marriage disappeared, and was replaced by a paradigm of individuals going through a series of relationships, which is often the case today Frum says that between about the 1920s and 50s, attitudes toward love and marriage were highly unromantic and stoic love was expected to feel bad, and marriage to be unpleasant, but the thought was that if you endured marriage in good faith, it might not be so bad Leaving your spouse and especially your children without a good material excuse was socially unacceptable Post 1970s attitudes find it ridiculous at best and shameful at worst to stay in an unhappy or unsatisfying marriage or relationship.Individualism also eliminated the universal willingness to serve in the military this is probably the main reason, other than the defeat in Vietnam, why military morale was so low in the 70s Other manifestations were an unusual strong fear of children, which showed up in several popular movies and television shows, and people s suddenly becoming eager to talk at length about themselves in opposition to the previous American tradition of being a relatively quiet people , which institutionalized itself in the appearance and popularity of television programs, in various genres, that depicted, discussed, and showed a fascination with individuals misbehavior or psychological problems, no matter how bizarre or disgusting, and often sympathized with them Example Phil Donahue.Part III concerns Americans new anti Rationalism in the seventies There was a sudden dislike for technology, standardization, central planning, and rationalism This was a reaction against the strong acceptance of those things by government and the public which peaked in the 1950s People turned against because it was seen as simply having gone too far Frum implies they saw it as complicit in the Vietnam War atrocities specifically, the use of the defoliant Agent Orange.The new anti rationalism manifested itself in a new popularity for pre modern architecture, esp brick buildings, and a backlash against modernist architecture a growth in environmentalism a removal of pretentious home decor styles, all the way down to removing wallboard and carpet a preference for food that was not mass produced, and wearing rough close to the earth clothing styles The only popular technology was stereo equipment There were also, among other thingd A dumbing down of educational standards nationwide Health and fitnesses crazes first widespread anti smoking laws and hatred of smoking An unusual vulnerability to cults, crackpot theories and dubious self improvement schemes Christian revival in the late 70s, but only in evangelical churches churches emphasized forgiveness over conduct and services wereemotional Ever since then, the character of evangelical Protestantism has been now different in two main ways People before 1970 went to church as a social duty as much as for spiritual nourishment, and it was the mainline Protestant churches that they went to And, as Frum says, these churches preached an ethic of conduct in other words, they primarily urged members to avoid sin The popular Protestant churches since the 1970s are all evangelical, emphasizing forgiveness over conduct their services areemotional and, according to Frum, they treat their members as audiences to a performance rather than witnesses to an event IV Desire This part concerns new self centered trends in individual health, fitness and especially sexuality.Manifestations Porn magazines soldcopies than ever before, and new titles started up Various fitness crazes, especially jogging Interest in natural foods huge rise in consumption of wine and Perrier A national obsession with safety, leading to many new safety regulations, especially motorcycle and bike helmet laws, and antismoking laws.VI Regeneration Discusses the lowest points of the slide, and concludes that both laissez faire capitalism and socialism have been rejected, and the American public now expects some sort of middle ground.During this time, there was as much anger over high taxes, and rising cynicism and class envy among the lower classes, as concern over inflation.Other Interesting Discernments According to Frum, midcentury American culture was materially egalitarian but intellectually hierarchical, meaning that there was not as huge an economic gap between the wealthy and everyone else, but we recognized that some ideas can be superior to others, and popular culture at least tried to respect high standards of sophistication But since the 1970s, these attitudes have flipped to their exact opposite We are intellectually egalitarian and materially hierarchical Middle class people aren t usually offended by Bill Gates s wealth, but our culture treats all ideas as equal and would find it bigoted to do otherwise.Industry American industry started to have a serious problem with quality around the 1970s it was turning out junk In a survey, both workers and consumers largely said they are or would be embarrassed buying the products they made But for some reason, industry responded not by raising quality, but by offeringunneeded features,luxuries and gimmicks This resulted in what Frum calls a vast tsunami of shlock in the 1970s eight track players and tapes were part of that.The cynicism of the 1970s spawned several new trends in popular entertainment, many of which are institutions now One is investigative reporting with a strong and deliberate tendency to smear people who had done nothing wrong with false accusations.Another new trend was talk shows that made no attempt whatsoever to give the interviewee any sort of respect Another was the comedy of Steve Martin as a deliberate expression of the new cynicism Martin s material was, according to Frum, made deliberately unfunny, in order to mock the idea that any comedian s material could be funny.Frum believes that the new individualism was so strong as to form a deliberate and strident religion of the self The obsessions with health and fitness were so strong that you could be harangued by a grocery store checker if you bought food products they disapproved of, and especially if you smoked This was the decade in which antismoking laws and social ostracism for smokers suddenly took off, and Frum believes it was because to consciously do something as toxic as smoking constituted blasphemy against the new religion of the self America s industrial revolution, economic growth, and consumer prosperity have all been financed on credit farthan the same things were in Great Britain, and almost all the wealthiest people in American history, including Andrew Carnegie and John D Rockefeller, used credit freely Also, Frum claims the growth in credit borrowing is responsible for the growth in business success since the eighties, but also blames credit borrowing for the often low character of American commercial morality All of these are possible because American bankruptcy laws are some of the most lenient in the world


  5. Cole Cole says:

    I have been thinking about the seventies for a while now, in particular the early 70s It seems there was a shift during that time from a society that was on a very particular path and adhered to a very strict set of social norms to one where that path and those norms no longer existed so I was excited to hear that there was a book that described exactly what the forces that caused that change and described it as it happened David Frum s book, How we got here, argues that the seventies, and no I have been thinking about the seventies for a while now, in particular the early 70s It seems there was a shift during that time from a society that was on a very particular path and adhered to a very strict set of social norms to one where that path and those norms no longer existed so I was excited to hear that there was a book that described exactly what the forces that caused that change and described it as it happened David Frum s book, How we got here, argues that the seventies, and not the sixties, were the period of time that has the largest influence on Americans lives as they moved into the new millennium the book was published in 2000 He describes the decline in marriage, religion, traditional gender roles, law, respect for legitimate authority, families, education, and morality and has the statistics to back it up, but besides the title, there is no real thesis to the book The idea that the 70s were the decade to look to instead of the 60s doesn t really enrich our understanding of the time period, and Frum doesn t really describe why these changes took place other than to say that it was the work individual autonomy Where that autonomy came from is not clear at all The book presents a lot of data and clever anecdotes in an easy to digest format, but overall there isn t a whole lot of substance to it Even worse, Frum leaves out what I thought to be an important point deindustrialization which isn t mentioned a single time and only hinted at once at the very end of the book Not only are there at least what I think to be glaring omissions, the book is littered with snide comments and judgments he makes regarding trends through the decade Most of them just sound like a laundry list of conservative complaints, but a few seemed reasonable and a few were even amusing, especially because so many are so common today On american s environmental superstitions The dietary and clothing restrictions that environmentalists place on themselves the secular mass performed every day over the recycling bins with cans, bottles, newsprint and compost each carefully placed within its holy container and left by the curb to await resurrection what else is this but religion On our newfound willingness to shame smokers despite the numerous public health benefits, not mentioned by Frum The Americans of the 1970s had notolerance than their Victorian predecessors for pleasures they deemed dangerous They might tolerate even applaud fornication, gluttony, gambling and dandyism But smokers were knowingly poisoning themselves They were consciously violating the commandment to care for their bodies They were something worse than dissidents They were heretics whose every puff blasphemed against the new religion of the self On upper middle class purchasing patterns Since the 1970s, the upper middle of the market has hankered for costly versions of things everyone has leather upholstered trucks 200 hiking boots gigantic digital television sets with stereophonic speakers coffee brewed from fine beans white truffle pizza Once the upper middle aspired to look like the very rich, only on amodest scale Since the 1970s, it has aspired to look like everybody else only muchlavishly Of all the absurdities in the history of the law of Unintended Consequences, this must be the grossest The upheaval of the 1960s aimed insofar as they had an aim at all at democratizing social life Every time a boss gets his own coffee instead of asking his secretary for it, or a professor chats chummily with a student the egalitarian spirit of those heady days wins a small retrospective victory the great rebellion against stuffiness and snobbery was supposed to have finished off the absurd middle class infatuation with the demarcations of status, the gradations and striations that supposedly distinguished them from the common herd..The bum s rush to the relentless pursuit of gentility Yet Barely a decade later here was Calvin Klein , reinventing gentility for the New Age Overall I found How we got here to be entertaining, but not muchIt gave me much better insight into the conservative point of view and a cultural and political history of the decade, but overall isn t worth reading as a serious work of history


  6. Howard Olsen Howard Olsen says:

    This is NOT a silly pop culture survey of the 70 s, despite what the graphics and blurbs on the cover seem to suggest Instead, it s an overview of the social and political history of that benighted decade By Frum s telling, if the 60 s were the High Water Mark of Liberalism, then the 70 s were Picket s Charge Frum s 70 s are an era when an abyss seemed to open between the elites and ordinary citizens His histories of Watergate and the Boston busing controversy are especially illuminating in This is NOT a silly pop culture survey of the 70 s, despite what the graphics and blurbs on the cover seem to suggest Instead, it s an overview of the social and political history of that benighted decade By Frum s telling, if the 60 s were the High Water Mark of Liberalism, then the 70 s were Picket s Charge Frum s 70 s are an era when an abyss seemed to open between the elites and ordinary citizens His histories of Watergate and the Boston busing controversy are especially illuminating in the degree to which electd officials seemed to go out of their way to alienate voters


  7. Alex Robinson Alex Robinson says:

    I found the social commentary bits to be very interesting the rise of feminism and its effect on society, the decline of education in America, etc but the political stuff seemed to be a grumpy laundry list of things the Democrats did to destroy the country at one point he complains about how the Progressives were all into building dams, then complains about how environmentalists won t let America build dams any.


  8. Jim Barber Jim Barber says:

    Pretty good overview of the decade I grew up in It was a busy, demoralizing decade, but has a special place in my heart Reading this brought back many memories.


  9. Mike Glaser Mike Glaser says:

    Another rating that would be half a star higher if Goodreads would let me give those marks Very interesting review especially for someone who came of age during those years Also a good reminder that Jimmy Carter was a terrible President and that the Democratic Party has been a mess for a long time Interesting discussion on how the Kennedy administration was responsible for the inflation of the 1970 s.


  10. Kevin Kevin says:

    Most of this work tends to be a collection of events, facts, and anecdotes inter spaced with commentary decrying the changes begin in the sixties and crystallized in the seventies However, stronger editing and organization would have made that argument one truly worthy of consideration rather than what is presented.


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How We Got Here: The 70's: The Decade that Brought You Modern Life (For Better or Worse) ☄ How We Got Here: The 70's: The Decade that Brought You Modern Life (For Better or Worse) PDF / Epub ✓ Author David Frum – Capitalsoftworks.co.uk For many, the s evoke the Brady Bunch and the birth of disco In this first, thematic popular history of the decade, David Frum argues that it was the s, not the s, that created modern America and alte For many, the s evoke the Got Here: MOBI ñ Brady Bunch and the birth of disco In this first, thematic popular history of the decade, David Frum argues that it was the s, not the s, that created modern America and altered the American personality forever A society that had valued faith, self reliance, self sacrifice, and family loyalty evolved in little than a decade into one characterized by superstition, self interest, narcissism, and guilt Frum examines this metamorphosis through the rise to cultural dominance of faddish psychology, astrology, drugs, religious cults, and consumer debt, and profiles such prominent How We MOBI :Þ players of the decade as Werner Erhard, Alex Comfort, and Jerry Brown How We Got Here is lively and provocative reading.

  • Paperback
  • 448 pages
  • How We Got Here: The 70's: The Decade that Brought You Modern Life (For Better or Worse)
  • David Frum
  • English
  • 24 February 2019
  • 0465041965

About the Author: David Frum

David J Frum is a Canadian Got Here: MOBI ñ American journalist active in both the United States and Canadian political arenas A former economic speechwriter for President George W Bush, he is also the author of the first insider book about the Bush presidency His editorial columns have appeared in a variety of Canadian and American magazines and newspapers, including the National Post and The Week He is also the founder of FrumForum formerly NewMajority , a political group blog.


10 thoughts on “How We Got Here: The 70's: The Decade that Brought You Modern Life (For Better or Worse)

  1. Kim Fay Kim Fay says:

    The 1970s 1 was 4 through 14 during this decade I remember pretty much every crazy song, fad and TV show from the era My memories of that time are personal with the exception of a few major events long lines at gas stations, Jim Jones, the Iran hostage crisis , and because I was just young enough, I am fascinated to read about how the 1970s fit into a 20th century historical context I will get my complaint about this book out of the way first at times the author made conservative stat The 1970s 1 was 4 through 14 during this decade I remember pretty much every crazy song, fad and TV show from the era My memories of that time are personal with the exception of a few major events long lines at gas stations, Jim Jones, the Iran hostage crisis , and because I was just young enough, I am fascinated to read about how the 1970s fit into a 20th century historical context I will get my complaint about this book out of the way first at times the author made conservative statements that broached offensive to me But these moments were few, and overall, this book is a thoughtful must read for anyone interested in exploring how the 1970s and not the 1960s fed many of the greatest social changes in modern America For being an overview of the decade, How We Got Here is surprisingly in depth I learned a lot from it, and it introduced me to a lot of events and issues that I was to research further

  2. Richie Richie says:

    I give this book three stars not because it is good it is not , but because I am a fan of the book length jeremiad My copy is thoroughly stained with red ink, margin notes like seriously or oh please or WRONG , and dog ears on pages with particularly hilarious quotes That all too recurrent late twentieth century moment in which a disgraced public figure tearfully informs us that God has forgiven him occurred far less often in thebracing moral clime of half a century ago p.155 I give this book three stars not because it is good it is not , but because I am a fan of the book length jeremiad My copy is thoroughly stained with red ink, margin notes like seriously or oh please or WRONG , and dog ears on pages with particularly hilarious quotes That all too recurrent late twentieth century moment in which a disgraced public figure tearfully informs us that God has forgiven him occurred far less often in thebracing moral clime of half a century ago p.155 or In 1937, Walt Disney had his Snow White pray to an unmistakably Christian God The religion in Pocahontas and The Lion King is, however, strictly pagan p.165.This book is a howler

  3. Parenthetical Grin Parenthetical Grin says:

    I disagree with Frum, on nearly every point the exception being his discussion of the implications of confessional culture But the writing style and the content make it a very enjoyable read, and it offers good insights into rightist political imaginaries.

  4. Don Incognito Don Incognito says:

    This is a popular history of the 1970s, with the thesis that the 1970s sociocultural changes are responsible for today s modern attitudes and social conditions.Part I concerns a widespread collapse of trust in many institutions, especially government and civil authorities Frum believes the collapse started with Vietnam, was intensified by Watergate, and branched out from distrust of the federal government into a distrust of civil government and civil authorities A web of petty corruption scand This is a popular history of the 1970s, with the thesis that the 1970s sociocultural changes are responsible for today s modern attitudes and social conditions.Part I concerns a widespread collapse of trust in many institutions, especially government and civil authorities Frum believes the collapse started with Vietnam, was intensified by Watergate, and branched out from distrust of the federal government into a distrust of civil government and civil authorities A web of petty corruption scandals appeared on all levels, from the presidency to various civil officials and the police were no longer believed competent or honest.Part II At midcentury and before, Americans had a fairly strong devotion to duty But around 1970, the ethic of responsibility fell apart, and was replaced by a very brazen ethic of self centeredness.This allowed such things as an explosion in no fault divorces, and many blatant expressions of self centeredness in advertising and pop culture such as a bestseller on self centeredness titled Looking Out For Number One and commercials with taglines like This I do for me Because the worst effect of the new self centeredness was in marriage, the old linear progression of flirting to courtship to marriage disappeared, and was replaced by a paradigm of individuals going through a series of relationships, which is often the case today Frum says that between about the 1920s and 50s, attitudes toward love and marriage were highly unromantic and stoic love was expected to feel bad, and marriage to be unpleasant, but the thought was that if you endured marriage in good faith, it might not be so bad Leaving your spouse and especially your children without a good material excuse was socially unacceptable Post 1970s attitudes find it ridiculous at best and shameful at worst to stay in an unhappy or unsatisfying marriage or relationship.Individualism also eliminated the universal willingness to serve in the military this is probably the main reason, other than the defeat in Vietnam, why military morale was so low in the 70s Other manifestations were an unusual strong fear of children, which showed up in several popular movies and television shows, and people s suddenly becoming eager to talk at length about themselves in opposition to the previous American tradition of being a relatively quiet people , which institutionalized itself in the appearance and popularity of television programs, in various genres, that depicted, discussed, and showed a fascination with individuals misbehavior or psychological problems, no matter how bizarre or disgusting, and often sympathized with them Example Phil Donahue.Part III concerns Americans new anti Rationalism in the seventies There was a sudden dislike for technology, standardization, central planning, and rationalism This was a reaction against the strong acceptance of those things by government and the public which peaked in the 1950s People turned against because it was seen as simply having gone too far Frum implies they saw it as complicit in the Vietnam War atrocities specifically, the use of the defoliant Agent Orange.The new anti rationalism manifested itself in a new popularity for pre modern architecture, esp brick buildings, and a backlash against modernist architecture a growth in environmentalism a removal of pretentious home decor styles, all the way down to removing wallboard and carpet a preference for food that was not mass produced, and wearing rough close to the earth clothing styles The only popular technology was stereo equipment There were also, among other thingd A dumbing down of educational standards nationwide Health and fitnesses crazes first widespread anti smoking laws and hatred of smoking An unusual vulnerability to cults, crackpot theories and dubious self improvement schemes Christian revival in the late 70s, but only in evangelical churches churches emphasized forgiveness over conduct and services wereemotional Ever since then, the character of evangelical Protestantism has been now different in two main ways People before 1970 went to church as a social duty as much as for spiritual nourishment, and it was the mainline Protestant churches that they went to And, as Frum says, these churches preached an ethic of conduct in other words, they primarily urged members to avoid sin The popular Protestant churches since the 1970s are all evangelical, emphasizing forgiveness over conduct their services areemotional and, according to Frum, they treat their members as audiences to a performance rather than witnesses to an event IV Desire This part concerns new self centered trends in individual health, fitness and especially sexuality.Manifestations Porn magazines soldcopies than ever before, and new titles started up Various fitness crazes, especially jogging Interest in natural foods huge rise in consumption of wine and Perrier A national obsession with safety, leading to many new safety regulations, especially motorcycle and bike helmet laws, and antismoking laws.VI Regeneration Discusses the lowest points of the slide, and concludes that both laissez faire capitalism and socialism have been rejected, and the American public now expects some sort of middle ground.During this time, there was as much anger over high taxes, and rising cynicism and class envy among the lower classes, as concern over inflation.Other Interesting Discernments According to Frum, midcentury American culture was materially egalitarian but intellectually hierarchical, meaning that there was not as huge an economic gap between the wealthy and everyone else, but we recognized that some ideas can be superior to others, and popular culture at least tried to respect high standards of sophistication But since the 1970s, these attitudes have flipped to their exact opposite We are intellectually egalitarian and materially hierarchical Middle class people aren t usually offended by Bill Gates s wealth, but our culture treats all ideas as equal and would find it bigoted to do otherwise.Industry American industry started to have a serious problem with quality around the 1970s it was turning out junk In a survey, both workers and consumers largely said they are or would be embarrassed buying the products they made But for some reason, industry responded not by raising quality, but by offeringunneeded features,luxuries and gimmicks This resulted in what Frum calls a vast tsunami of shlock in the 1970s eight track players and tapes were part of that.The cynicism of the 1970s spawned several new trends in popular entertainment, many of which are institutions now One is investigative reporting with a strong and deliberate tendency to smear people who had done nothing wrong with false accusations.Another new trend was talk shows that made no attempt whatsoever to give the interviewee any sort of respect Another was the comedy of Steve Martin as a deliberate expression of the new cynicism Martin s material was, according to Frum, made deliberately unfunny, in order to mock the idea that any comedian s material could be funny.Frum believes that the new individualism was so strong as to form a deliberate and strident religion of the self The obsessions with health and fitness were so strong that you could be harangued by a grocery store checker if you bought food products they disapproved of, and especially if you smoked This was the decade in which antismoking laws and social ostracism for smokers suddenly took off, and Frum believes it was because to consciously do something as toxic as smoking constituted blasphemy against the new religion of the self America s industrial revolution, economic growth, and consumer prosperity have all been financed on credit farthan the same things were in Great Britain, and almost all the wealthiest people in American history, including Andrew Carnegie and John D Rockefeller, used credit freely Also, Frum claims the growth in credit borrowing is responsible for the growth in business success since the eighties, but also blames credit borrowing for the often low character of American commercial morality All of these are possible because American bankruptcy laws are some of the most lenient in the world

  5. Cole Cole says:

    I have been thinking about the seventies for a while now, in particular the early 70s It seems there was a shift during that time from a society that was on a very particular path and adhered to a very strict set of social norms to one where that path and those norms no longer existed so I was excited to hear that there was a book that described exactly what the forces that caused that change and described it as it happened David Frum s book, How we got here, argues that the seventies, and no I have been thinking about the seventies for a while now, in particular the early 70s It seems there was a shift during that time from a society that was on a very particular path and adhered to a very strict set of social norms to one where that path and those norms no longer existed so I was excited to hear that there was a book that described exactly what the forces that caused that change and described it as it happened David Frum s book, How we got here, argues that the seventies, and not the sixties, were the period of time that has the largest influence on Americans lives as they moved into the new millennium the book was published in 2000 He describes the decline in marriage, religion, traditional gender roles, law, respect for legitimate authority, families, education, and morality and has the statistics to back it up, but besides the title, there is no real thesis to the book The idea that the 70s were the decade to look to instead of the 60s doesn t really enrich our understanding of the time period, and Frum doesn t really describe why these changes took place other than to say that it was the work individual autonomy Where that autonomy came from is not clear at all The book presents a lot of data and clever anecdotes in an easy to digest format, but overall there isn t a whole lot of substance to it Even worse, Frum leaves out what I thought to be an important point deindustrialization which isn t mentioned a single time and only hinted at once at the very end of the book Not only are there at least what I think to be glaring omissions, the book is littered with snide comments and judgments he makes regarding trends through the decade Most of them just sound like a laundry list of conservative complaints, but a few seemed reasonable and a few were even amusing, especially because so many are so common today On american s environmental superstitions The dietary and clothing restrictions that environmentalists place on themselves the secular mass performed every day over the recycling bins with cans, bottles, newsprint and compost each carefully placed within its holy container and left by the curb to await resurrection what else is this but religion On our newfound willingness to shame smokers despite the numerous public health benefits, not mentioned by Frum The Americans of the 1970s had notolerance than their Victorian predecessors for pleasures they deemed dangerous They might tolerate even applaud fornication, gluttony, gambling and dandyism But smokers were knowingly poisoning themselves They were consciously violating the commandment to care for their bodies They were something worse than dissidents They were heretics whose every puff blasphemed against the new religion of the self On upper middle class purchasing patterns Since the 1970s, the upper middle of the market has hankered for costly versions of things everyone has leather upholstered trucks 200 hiking boots gigantic digital television sets with stereophonic speakers coffee brewed from fine beans white truffle pizza Once the upper middle aspired to look like the very rich, only on amodest scale Since the 1970s, it has aspired to look like everybody else only muchlavishly Of all the absurdities in the history of the law of Unintended Consequences, this must be the grossest The upheaval of the 1960s aimed insofar as they had an aim at all at democratizing social life Every time a boss gets his own coffee instead of asking his secretary for it, or a professor chats chummily with a student the egalitarian spirit of those heady days wins a small retrospective victory the great rebellion against stuffiness and snobbery was supposed to have finished off the absurd middle class infatuation with the demarcations of status, the gradations and striations that supposedly distinguished them from the common herd..The bum s rush to the relentless pursuit of gentility Yet Barely a decade later here was Calvin Klein , reinventing gentility for the New Age Overall I found How we got here to be entertaining, but not muchIt gave me much better insight into the conservative point of view and a cultural and political history of the decade, but overall isn t worth reading as a serious work of history

  6. Howard Olsen Howard Olsen says:

    This is NOT a silly pop culture survey of the 70 s, despite what the graphics and blurbs on the cover seem to suggest Instead, it s an overview of the social and political history of that benighted decade By Frum s telling, if the 60 s were the High Water Mark of Liberalism, then the 70 s were Picket s Charge Frum s 70 s are an era when an abyss seemed to open between the elites and ordinary citizens His histories of Watergate and the Boston busing controversy are especially illuminating in This is NOT a silly pop culture survey of the 70 s, despite what the graphics and blurbs on the cover seem to suggest Instead, it s an overview of the social and political history of that benighted decade By Frum s telling, if the 60 s were the High Water Mark of Liberalism, then the 70 s were Picket s Charge Frum s 70 s are an era when an abyss seemed to open between the elites and ordinary citizens His histories of Watergate and the Boston busing controversy are especially illuminating in the degree to which electd officials seemed to go out of their way to alienate voters

  7. Alex Robinson Alex Robinson says:

    I found the social commentary bits to be very interesting the rise of feminism and its effect on society, the decline of education in America, etc but the political stuff seemed to be a grumpy laundry list of things the Democrats did to destroy the country at one point he complains about how the Progressives were all into building dams, then complains about how environmentalists won t let America build dams any.

  8. Jim Barber Jim Barber says:

    Pretty good overview of the decade I grew up in It was a busy, demoralizing decade, but has a special place in my heart Reading this brought back many memories.

  9. Mike Glaser Mike Glaser says:

    Another rating that would be half a star higher if Goodreads would let me give those marks Very interesting review especially for someone who came of age during those years Also a good reminder that Jimmy Carter was a terrible President and that the Democratic Party has been a mess for a long time Interesting discussion on how the Kennedy administration was responsible for the inflation of the 1970 s.

  10. Kevin Kevin says:

    Most of this work tends to be a collection of events, facts, and anecdotes inter spaced with commentary decrying the changes begin in the sixties and crystallized in the seventies However, stronger editing and organization would have made that argument one truly worthy of consideration rather than what is presented.

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