No Direction Home
The American Family and the Fear of National Decline, 1968-1980
Publication Year: 2007
Published by: The University of North Carolina Press
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Title Page, Copyright
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I was born in San Francisco in 1970, and my parents were activists in the New Left, antiwar, and feminist movements of the era. Their activism provides the backdrop for my earliest childhood memories: playing with toys in the back office of the bookstore where my father helped edit a radical journal; ...
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Between 1968 and 1980, a succession of upheavals challenged a confident assumption of the previous two decades: that the United States possessed the political, military, economic, and moral resources to prevail in world affairs and provide for domestic prosperity. By 1968 the war in Vietnam had deeply wounded the moral authority of the United States. ...
1. Homeward Unbound: Prisoners of War, National Defeat, and the Crisis of Male Authority
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On 6 March 1970, the House of Representatives Committee on Armed Services gathered to hear the testimony of a small group of military wives whose husbands had disappeared over the jungles and waters of Southeast Asia.1 The purpose of the hearing was to call attention to the failure of the North Vietnamese to comply with the guidelines for prisoners of war laid out in the 1949 Geneva Accords. ...
2. Getting the House in Order: The Oil Embargo, Consumption, and the Limits of American Power
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On 29 March 1973 President Nixon appeared on national television and announced that the Vietnam War was over. For the first time in twelve years, there were no American forces in Vietnam, and the POWs were on their way home. The time had come for Americans to “put aside those honest differences about war which divide us” ...
3. “The Great Male Cop-Out”: Productivity Lag and the End of the Family Wage
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On 3 March 1972 autoworkers in Lordstown, Ohio, shut down the plant that General Motors had predicted would set a new standard for productivity and competitiveness within the American automobile industry. Hailed in the business press as the “plant of the future” when it opened in 1966, Lordstown was stocked with the most sophisticated machinery and time-saving devices. ...
4. The Spirit of ’76: The Bicentennial and Cold War Revivalism
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Writing in the journal Public Interest in the fall of 1975, as the country prepared for its upcoming Bicentennial celebration, Daniel Patrick Moynihan reflected on America’s Centennial one hundred years earlier. Like the commemoration that was fast approaching, the Centennial, Moynihan recalled, had also taken place during a time of great national upheaval. ...
5. The World as a Mirror: Narcissism, “Malaise,” and the Middle-Class Family
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In March 1977, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences held its fiftieth annual awards ceremony, at which the film Network was among the most honored films of 1976. The film told the story of Howard Beale, a veteran news anchorman, who, upon learning that he is going to be fired due to poor ratings, announces on live television that he has decided to kill himself. ...
Conclusion: The Familial Roots of Republican Domination
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In recent years, historians and social theorists have revised their understanding of American national identity. It had long been assumed that American political culture was dominated by a civic nationalism, often referred to as the American Creed, that defines the United States as a multicultural and universalistic society made up of diverse groups united by democratic and individualist principles. ...
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I have incurred many debts in the years that I have worked on this book, and it gives me pleasure to acknowledge them here. Thanks first to the many archivists who offered me invaluable assistance along the way. Archivists at the J. Walter Thompson Company Archives, the Gerald R. Ford Library, the Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives, ...
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Page Count: 336
Illustrations: 18 illus.
Publication Year: 2007