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By Philip Jenkins

Why did the younger optimism and openness of the sixties cave in to Ronald Reagan and the spirit of conservative reaction--a spirit that is still ascendant today?

Drawing on a big selection of sources--including tabloid journalism, renowned fiction, videos, and tv shows--Philip Jenkins argues extraordinary confluence of panics, scares, and some real threats created a weather of worry that resulted in the conservative response. He identifies 1975 to 1986 because the watershed years. in this time, he says, there has been a pointy elevate in perceived threats to our defense at domestic and in a foreign country. At domestic, the United States appeared to be threatened through big criminals--serial killers, baby abusers, Satanic cults, and predatory drug buyers, to call quite a few.

On the overseas scene, we have been faced via the Soviet Union and its evil empire, via OPEC with its stranglehold on international oil, by means of the Ayatollahs who made hostages of our diplomats in Iran. more and more, those hazards started to be defined when it comes to ethical evil. Rejecting the radicalism of the '60s, which many observed because the resource of the hindrance, americans followed a extra pessimistic interpretation of human habit, which harked again to a lot older topics in American tradition. This less complicated yet darker imaginative and prescient finally introduced us Ronald Reagan and the ascendancy of the political correct, which greater than twenty years later indicates no signal of loosening its grip.

Writing in his ordinary crisp and witty prose, Jenkins deals a really unique and persuasive account of a interval that keeps to fascinate the yank public. it's absolute to captivate an individual who lived via this era, in addition to all those that are looking to comprehend the forces that transformed--and proceed to define--the American political panorama.

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Additional resources for Decade of Nightmares: The End of the Sixties and the Making of Eighties America

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7 Racial attitudes changed rapidly following the collapse of legal segregation, as civil rights leaders moved into mainstream politics. The 1972 congressional elections were victories for rising stars such as Andrew Young from Georgia or Texas’s Barbara Jordan, who delivered a historic keynote address at the 1976 Democratic convention. Over the next decade, accounts of such victories would regularly report how candidates were the first African-Americans to hold office in a given southern state since Reconstruction.

The longestablished gay subcultures of cities such as New York and San Francisco were operating far more visibly and proudly than ever before, with a very public network of clubs and bars, while many smaller cities developed their own gay scenes. So public was gay life becoming, in fact, that the community faced divisive debates over just how mainstream it wished to be. In the early post-Stonewall years, gay activism attracted a wide range of sexual subcultures, including transvestites and transsexuals, sado-masochists and pederasts.

44 In the post-1965 decade, matters of crime, delinquency, and deviancy represented the cutting edge of social reform. Here above all, judicial intervention revolutionized official responses to social problems and in the process popularized new approaches to matters as fundamental as human normality and difference, as well as the definition of right and wrong. 42 mainstreaming the sixties In the late 1960s, liberals were deeply concerned about abuses by police and prisons, and some prisoners became popular heroes.

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