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Something Happened

2005 non-fiction book by Edward D. Berkowitz

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Probably more appropriate as a reference volume for most readers.

  • Dec 16, 2008
  • by
For me "Something Happened: A Political and Cultural Overview of the Seventies" is a very difficult book to size up.   If you were over the age of 18 and paying any attention at all to current events during the 1970's then you will not find very much new information in this book.   In large part I found "Something Happened" to be very matter of fact and even a bit tedious at times.   Having said that I must acknowledge that author Edward Berkowitz has produced an extremely well balanced analysis of the events of this tumultous decade.
For those who are too young to remember the 1970's "Something Happened" presents a fairly comprehensive overview of the political, economic, scientific and cultural phenomenon of the decade.  Berkowitz also gives us a very balanced assessment of our political leadership during the decade and attempts to explain why the country as a whole seemed to be in such a funk during these years.  Berkowitz succeeds in making the argument that there was a lot more going on in the 1970's than most people realize.
In the final analysis I believe that "Something Happened" is better suited as a reference book than a book for the general reader.  I would definitely not recommend it for anyone over the age of 50.   While "Something Happened:  A Political and Cultural Overview of the Seventies" was an interesting trip down memory lane,  I found little in the way of new information in this book and that frustrated me.   And yet I can see how valuable this book might be to someone much younger than myself.  All in all,  this was a worthwhile project that deserves a spot in your public library.

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Paul Tognetti ()
Ranked #2
I guess I would qualify as a frustrated writer. My work requires very little writing and so since 1999 I have been writing reviews on non-fiction books and anthology CD's on amazon.com. I never could … more
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About this book


In both the literal and metaphorical senses, it seemed as if 1970s America was running out of gas. The decade not only witnessed long lines at gas stations but a citizenry that had grown weary and disillusioned. High unemployment, runaway inflation, and the energy crisis, caused in part by U.S. dependence on Arab oil, characterized an increasingly bleak economic situation.

As Edward D. Berkowitz demonstrates, the end of the postwar economic boom, Watergate, and defeat in Vietnam led to an unraveling of the national consensus. During the decade, ideas about the United States, how it should be governed, and how its economy should be managed changed dramatically. Berkowitz argues that the postwar faith in sweeping social programs and a global U.S. mission was replaced by a more skeptical attitude about government's ability to positively affect society.

From Woody Allen to Watergate, from the decline of the steel industry to the rise of Bill Gates, and from Saturday Night Fever to the Sunday morning fervor of evangelical preachers, Berkowitz captures the history, tone, and spirit of the seventies. He explores the decade's major political events and movements, including the rise and fall of d├ętente, congressional reform, changes in healthcare policies, and the hostage crisis in Iran. The seventies also gave birth to several social movements and the "rights revolution," in which women, gays and lesbians, and people with disabilities all successfully fought for greater legal and ...

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ISBN-10: 0231124945
ISBN-13: 978-0231124942
Author: Edward D. Berkowitz
Genre: Cultural History
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Date Published: November 23, 2005
Format: Hardcover
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