Some see the 1980s as a Golden Age, a “Morning in America” when Ronald Reagan revived America’s economy, reoriented American politics, and restored Americans’ faith in their country and in themselves. Others see the 1980s as a new “Gilded Age,” an era that was selfish, superficial, glitzy, greedy, divisive, and destructive. This multifaceted exploration of the 1980s brings together a variety of voices from different political persuasions, generations, and vantage points. The volume features work by Reagan critics and Reagan fans (including one of President Reagan’s closest aides, Ed Meese), by historians who think the 1980s were a disastrous time, those who think it was a glorious time, and those who see both the blessings and the curses of the decade. Their essays examine everything from multiculturalism, Southern conservatism, and Reaganomics, to music culture, religion, crime, AIDS, and the city. A complex, thoughtful account of a watershed in our recent history, this volume will engage anyone interested in this pivotal decade.
- Timed to publish with the so-called end of the Reagan era
- Emphasizes economy, culture, and society, as well as politics
- Shows that Ronald Reagan permeated America’s cities and suburbs, schools and churches–and yet a strong counter-trend also existed wherin the sixties revolution continued with feminism and multiculturalism
- Features and important mix of young scholars and veteran scholars with established reputations
“Living in the Eighties is a lively set of essays that deftly explores cultural as well as political, social, and economic developments in America during the 1980s. I recommend it enthusiastically.” — James T. Patterson, author of Restless Giant: The United States from Watergate to Bush v. Gore
“Living in the Eighties offers a fresh take on this important decade in the recent past. While acknowledging the constraints on the conservative shift in American politics and culture, the authors nicely capture the decisive turn to the right in this crucial era. From Madonna to shopping malls to Reagan’s key political victories, this volume provides a compelling and insightful portrait of America in the ’80s.”-Meg Jacobs, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
“As one might expect, this is a collection notable for the quality of its scholarship and sturdiness of its prose. But the hallmark of the anthology, perhaps not surprisingly, is balance, not only in terms of opinion, but also generations and even professions.”–History News Network
240 pages; 15 halftones; 6 1/8 x 9 1/4; ISBN13: 978-0-19-518787-8ISBN10: 0-19-518787-3
About the Author(s)
Gil Troy is Professor of History at McGill University and the author of Leading from the Center: Why Moderates Make the Best Presidents and Morning in America: How Ronald Reagan Invented the 1980s, among other titles.
Vincent J. Cannato is Associate Professor of History at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, and the author of American Passage: The History of Ellis Island and The Ungovernable City: John Lindsay and his Struggle to Save New York.