Preface and Acknowledgments

From: The 1970s

In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

PREFACE AND ACKNOWLEDGMENTS We all have our histories. Most of mine was shaped in the 1970s. I turned twelve years old in 1970 and twenty-two in 1980. In between, I played a lot of basketball, fell in love with literature, left home, had my first jobs and girlfriends, spent time hitchhiking, and graduated from high school and college. I grew up. And coming of age in the 1970s did not mean just surviving orange shag rugs, polyester clothing, inflation, and national uncertainty . For me, it also included watching powerful people have their corruption exposed, learning to love the outdoors, taking spiritual searching seriously, and imbibing the struggle of half the people I knew—women—for equality and respect. This was liberating and exhilarating, and I learned to be political: to try to keep my eye on power, to see who had it and how they used it, who benefited and who did not. While some people in the “Me Decade” turned away from the sphere of public life and politics, I was fascinated by it. We all have geographies, too. Mine was fairly expansive in this decade, split roughly in thirds between the South, New England , and the West. An extended stay in Italy and visits to Mexico , Greece, the United Kingdom, and, a few years later, China widened my perspective. Along the way, I was blessed with enduring friendships that inevitably colored the 1970s with a positive hue. I was fortunate to live in two of the most beautiful places on earth—Florence, Italy, and Fallen Leaf Lake, California . I was, in the words of Canadian songwriter Bruce Cockburn , “cut by the beauty of jagged mountains” and have never completely recovered from the wound.1 My Seventies involved a lot of extremely good fortune and stumbling into majesty and love and grace. It made me grateful. I have been thinking about this era for thirty years, and I have had a lot of help along the way, from family in particular. My oldest brother, John “JB” Borstelmann, taught me the most at the time and has laughed with me the most ever since, as we have examined and reexamined our intersecting paths through that decade. My older brother, Michael Borstelmann, was, as our father put it, “countercultural before the counterculture,” modeling a gentler and kinder manner than almost anyone I knew. He helped me more than he may ever imagine. My older sister, Nancy Chandler, provided encouragement and a robust example of independent, back-to-the-land living. My parents, Jane and Lloyd Borstelmann, gone on now and much missed, gave us a home that was lively, literate, tolerant, and generous. They were the ground of my 1970s and my work as a historian. My wife, Lynn Borstelmann, is my same age, and though we did not meet until 1986, she took a roughly parallel path through the Seventies and we have compared notes now for twenty-five years. Indeed, we may even have crossed paths, unawares, somewhere in the second half of the decade, along the campuses or byways of Durham, North Carolina, my hometown and her college town. Several readers made this a better book, rescuing me from a slew of embarrassing errors and forcing me to reconsider several issues. They will recognize their handiwork in the best parts that follow. For any faults in the book they bear no responsibility , since those faults mark precisely where I bullheadedly chose not to follow their advice. JB Borstelmann and Elaine Tyler May combed the manuscript with a degree of care that was extraordinarily generous, and each nurtured the project with enthusiasm and penetrating intelligence. Tom Bender and an anonymous reader for Princeton University Press provided unusually helpful and insightful feedback. Suzanne Mettler cheered for the book from the beginning and shared the wisdom of a political scientist in improving it. Andrew Preston offered a kindly endorsement and detailed suggestions, as did Steve Willborn. David Painter threw me a life ring on oil. Daniel Sargent, Jeffrey Engel, Ken Osgood, and Lew Erenberg invited me to present aspects of the book to audiences at, respectively, Harvard University , Texas A&M University, Florida Atlantic University, and Loyola University of Chicago, where I received thoughtful and challenging responses. My able agent, Lisa Adams of the Garamond Agency, helped place the book at Princeton University Press, where Brigitta van Rheinberg, Sarah Wolf, and the rest of the staff upheld their reputation for professionalism and efficiency . Copyeditor Karen Verde rescued me from several mistakes . The...



Subject Headings

  • United States -- History -- 1969-.
  • United States -- Social conditions -- 1960-1980.
  • United States -- Politics and government -- 1969-1974.
  • United States -- Politics and government -- 1974-1977.
  • United States -- Politics and government -- 1977-1981.
  • United States -- Economic conditions -- 1971-1981.
  • United States -- Foreign relations -- 1945-1989.
  • United States -- Commerce -- History -- 20th century.
  • Equality -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
  • Nineteen seventies.
  • You have access to this content
  • Free sample
  • Open Access
  • Restricted Access