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“I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore!” The words of Howard Beale, the fictional anchorman in 1976’s hit film Network, struck a chord with a generation of Americans. In this colourful new history, Dominic Sandbrook ranges seamlessly over the political, economic, and cultural high (and low) points of American life in the 1970s, exploring the roots of the fears, resentments, cravings, and disappointments we know so well today. From Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan to Anita Bryant and Jerry Falwell, he shows how the 1970s saw the emergence of a new right-wing populism, setting the stage for the bitter partisanship and near-total cynicism of our modern political landscape.
“Frisky and intelligent. . . . Among the most readable histories of the 1970s I’ve come across.” —Dwight Garner, The New York Times
“An entertaining yet substantial book about a wince-inducing era. When it comes to the Seventies, Sandbrook knows the way we were, even if we wish we hadn’t been.” —The Dallas Morning News
“A rich stew. . . . Sandbrook brings a fresh perspective [and a] knack for blending social, cultural, and political history.” —The Boston Globe
“A terrific read. . . . Sandbrook brings the 1970s back to vivid life in Mad as Hell, his entertaining, opinionated take on the politics, economics, and cultural signifiers of a decade he views as the incubator of today’s right wing.” —The Christian Science Monitor
“A sweeping and compelling look at the rise of the populist right. . . . Sandbrook is brilliant in how he ties these events together and offers candid portrayals of presidents Nixon, Ford, Carter and Reagan. . . . He illuminates pieces of our history, affording us a deeper understanding of their resonance in our own time.” —The San Diego Union-Tribune
“A useful contribution. . . . Sandbrook knows the territory well and analyzes it with understanding and sympathy.” —The Washington Post
“Impressive and evenhanded. . . . Sandbrook is a muscular writer with an eye for the telling detail. . . . This is the best history I’ve yet read of the ‘70s.” —Brian C. Anderson, Commentary
“A lively and lucid narrative history of the ‘70s. . . . Sharply etched.” —Tulsa World
“Sandbrook’s swashbuckling, capacious account of 1970s populism—aptly titled Mad as Hell—captures the inchoate fury that seemed to permeate the nation. . . . The book offers striking vignettes from the rise of a populist insurgency.” —Bookforum
“Throughout this incredible book there are insights, observations, and the intricate crafting of words and phrases that leave the reader breathless. . . . Characters, including Henry Kissinger, Anita Bryant, Jerry Falwell, and Spiro Agnew, float through its pages likes escapees from some mad gypsy circus. Somehow, Sandbrook has captured all of the history missteps and bumps in the road that made the 1970s one of the most intriguing decades ever. This is historical reporting by a gifted writer at the top of his game.” —Tucson Citizen
“First-rate. . . . [Sandbrook] is able to view history panoramically, almost as a living, breathing organism, by collecting and effectively using vast numbers of on-the-ground anecdotes. When it comes time for a future Edward Gibbon to explore the decline and fall of the American Republic, it is quite possible that he or she will zero in on the cultural trends and economic upheavals of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. If that is the case, Mad as Hell will be there as a guiding light.” —Columbia Journalism Review
“A shrewd, sparkling politico-cultural history of post-Watergate America. . . . [Sandbrook’s] subtle, well-written narrative of wrathful little guys confronting a faltering establishment illuminates a crucial aspect of a time much like our own.” —Publishers Weekly
“Intensely readable. . . . Chock-full of insights about the moments those of us who survived the 70s remember all too clearly.” —Sacramento News & Review