BOOK FACT FRIDAY

FACT: “During the 1971-72 school year, girls comprised just 7 percent of all participants in high school sports; in 2006-2007, they totaled 41 percent. From 1971, when three women completed the second New York City Marathon, the number of female finishers soared to 11, 715 in 2003. Roughly a third of the racers in New York for the annual event were now women.”

The 1970s: A New Global History from Civil Rights to Economic Inequality
by Thomas Borstelmann

The 1970s looks at an iconic decade when the cultural left and economic right came to the fore in American society and the world at large. While many have seen the 1970s as simply a period of failures epitomized by Watergate, inflation, the oil crisis, global unrest, and disillusionment with military efforts in Vietnam, Thomas Borstelmann creates a new framework for understanding the period and its legacy. He demonstrates how the 1970s increased social inclusiveness and, at the same time, encouraged commitments to the free market and wariness of government. As a result, American culture and much of the rest of the world became more—and less—equal.

Borstelmann explores how the 1970s forged the contours of contemporary America. Military, political, and economic crises undercut citizens’ confidence in government. Free market enthusiasm led to lower taxes, a volunteer army, individual 401(k) retirement plans, free agency in sports, deregulated airlines, and expansions in gambling and pornography. At the same time, the movement for civil rights grew, promoting changes for women, gays, immigrants, and the disabled. And developments were not limited to the United States. Many countries gave up colonial and racial hierarchies to develop a new formal commitment to human rights, while economic deregulation spread to other parts of the world, from Chile and the United Kingdom to China.

Placing a tempestuous political culture within a global perspective, The 1970s shows that the decade wrought irrevocable transformations upon American society and the broader world that continue to resonate today.

“The United States and the world have become more integrated and diverse during the last several decades, and this book helps us understand how that transformation came about. Borstelmann locates the origins of the contemporary world in the 1970s and presents by far the most comprehensive and persuasive portrait of that decade. Ranging from politics and ideology to economic globalization and religious fundamentalism, this book makes compelling reading.”—Akira Iriye, Harvard University

“With brilliant insight and elegant, lively prose, Thomas Borstelmann makes sense of the seemingly incomprehensible contradictions and complexities of the 1970s. Demonstrating how the United States became both more and less equal, and linking this development to international trends, Borstelmann offers a magisterial global study of a decade that profoundly transformed America and the world. A must-read for anyone who wants to understand our past and present.”—Elaine Tyler May, author of America and the Pill: A History of Promise, Peril, and Liberation

We invite you to read the Introduction here: http://press.princeton.edu/chapters/i9542.pdf