The Other Eighties: A Secret History of America in the Age of Reagan

The Other Eighties: A Secret History of America in the Age of Reagan

by Bradford Martin

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In this engaging book, Bradford Martin illuminates a different 1980s than many remember—one whose history has been buried under the celebratory narrative of conservative ascendancy. Ronald Reagan looms large in most accounts of the period, encouraging Americans to renounce the activist and liberal politics of the 1960s and '70s and embrace the resurgent conservative wave. But a closer look reveals that a sizable swath of Americans strongly disapproved of Reagan's policies throughout his presidency. With a weakened Democratic Party scurrying for the political center, many expressed their dissatisfaction outside electoral politics. Unlike the civil rights and Vietnam-era protesters, activists of the 1980s often found themselves on the defensive, struggling to preserve the hard-won victories of the previous era. Their successes, then, were not in ushering in a new era of progressive reforms but in effecting change in areas from professional life to popular culture, while beating back an even more forceful political shift to the right.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780809074594
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date: 03/13/2012
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 392,273
Product dimensions: 5.70(w) x 8.70(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Bradford Martin is an associate professor of history at Bryant University in Rhode Island. He is the author of The Theater Is in the Street: Politics and Performance in Sixties America.

Table of Contents

Preface ix

1 Calling to Halt: The Nuclear Freeze Campaign 3

2 The Central America Solidarity Movement: Opposing Secret Wars in the Backyard 25

3 "Unsightly Huts": Shanties and the Divestment Movement 45

4 Popular Culture and the Culture Wars 67

5 Noise from Underground: Post-Punk Music, Culture, and Politics 95

6 Fighting the Power: The Response of African American Politics and Culture 119

7 Fighting the Backlash: The Many Paths of Feminism 145

8 The Shock Troops of Direct Action: ACT UP Confronts the AIDS Crisis 171

Epilogue: The Other Eighties in the Age of Obama 189

Notes 195

Acknowledgments 227

Index 229

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