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Mad as Hell

4.11  ·  Rating Details ·  120 Ratings  ·  27 Reviews
“I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore!” The words of Howard Beale, the fictional anchorman in the 1970s hit film Network, struck a chord with a generation of Americans. From the disgrace of Watergate to the humiliation of the Iran hostage crisis, the American Dream seemed to be falling apart.

In this magisterial new history, Dominic Sandbrook re-creates th
ebook, 528 pages
Published February 15th 2011 by Anchor (first published January 1st 2011)
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Ed Wagemann
May 12, 2011 Ed Wagemann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mad as Hell: The Crisis of the 1970s and the Rise of the Populist RightMad as Hell: The Crisis of the 1970s and the Rise of the Populist Right by Dominic Sandbrook

I've read a number of books that are well researched. But finding a book that translates good research into an interesting narrative is much harder to find. Dominic Sandbrook's Mad As Hell is a one of those rare gems.

Sandbrook's narrative is not simply a chronology of political and cultural events from the mid to late 1970s, it is also a look into the ideological evolution of the Everyman of this period
Well-done and well-researched book about one of the most turbulent decades in memory. The history starts from the Nixon resignation and ends at the start of Reagan's term, covering everything from the rise of the South, fundamentalism, racial tensions, poverty, and even Archie Bunker and air conditioning.

The events of this era make not only an interesting story, but one that is very relevant to the modern era. Populist conservatism is still very influential today, and its origins are fascinating
David Bales
May 15, 2011 David Bales rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
Interesting and comprehensive review of the period 1974 to 1980, covering the angst of the post-Nixon '70s, the Carter years, the energy crisis, the rise of the religious right as a political force and the election of Ronald Reagan, with interesting side notes on Bruce Springsteen, school busing in Boston, a West Virginia revolt against sex education and the feminist revolution. For once, a very intelligent and well-researched book on American history and politics by a British author! Nice chang ...more
Mary Ronan Drew
Mar 08, 2011 Mary Ronan Drew rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The 1970s ranged from 1974 when Richard Nixon resigned the presidency to 1981 when Ronald Reagan took office. And what busy years they were.

The US experienced the unprecedented resignation of a president under threat of impeachment, his pardon by the new president, significant inflation combined with a high unemployment rate (stagflation, they called it), the 1973 oil embargo and resulting lines of cars at gas stations, the election of Jimmy Carter (which surprised everyone, including Jimmy Car
Andrew Fish
Jul 20, 2014 Andrew Fish rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The 1970s were a turbulent time for much of the world. The political crisis of the Middle East sent destabilising shocks around the world, causing everything from the suspension of democracy in India to the three day week in the UK. In America, Sandbrook contends, it provided the catalyst which sent liberalism into the political wilderness and replaced it with a more conservative, right-wing government. But the tide of history that swept Reagan into the White House was no unpredictable wave, rat ...more
Jul 07, 2011 Alice rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good roundup of a complex, eventful decade in America. Perhaps because the author is a Brit looking at a foreign country, he manages to handle controversial US political topics in a non-emotional, wasn't-that-interesting voice. It's an easy read that got me thinking back to events I lived through and their repercussions down to the present.
Jul 28, 2011 Deb rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As I was hoping it would when I picked it up, this book explains so much about how we got where we are today politically. From Henry Kissinger to Anita Bryant, gas lines to the Iran hostage crisis, the 70s sealed our corporate cynicism. The writer is very good at weaving his research into a coherent narrative, which made the history go down smoothly.
Margaret Sankey
Apparently it takes a British historian of American politics to point out that populism was pushing the same buttons in the 1970s, using a similar playbook and preaching to classic conspiracy-seeking needs.
Jul 10, 2011 Avery rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very comprehensive and well written, stayed interesting throughout. A great insight into a decade in turmoil
Peter Geyer
Dominic Sandbrook is a British historian who specialises in examining the recent past, and here he examines political and social aspects of the turbulent 1970s in the United States, with a theme of the rise of what he calls the populist right, including the growing influence of conservative religious groups. He writes in an easy style, with occasional acerbic comments that are the privilege, if you like, of the outsider – someone observing and commenting on another nation's culture.

In some respe
Joe Moss
Apr 30, 2015 Joe Moss rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ever since I read "Never Had It So Good", his first volume of post war British political, social and cultural history, I've been hooked on Dominic Sandbrook's writing. He has developed a formula (in the nicest possible sense) to bring together events and opinions of people who lived through them mixing freely important events with smaller, personal, incidents which illustrate moods and trends. Apart from politics and current affairs, he delves extensively into the literature, music and film of t ...more
Sep 16, 2012 Qwerty rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was born in 1971 and one of my first political memories was coloring a poster in grade school welcoming the American hostages back home. As such, having only a vague recollection of that decade, I really enjoyed this political and social overview of the 1970's (Nixon resignation to Reagan inaugural). Ford comes off as a very decent man who lost because of the Nixon pardon, weak economy, and abysmal debate performance ("No Soviet domination of Eastern Europe"). In retrospect, Ford probably dese ...more
Patrick Justo
Mar 28, 2014 Patrick Justo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
Perhaps it requires an Englishman to see America with an outsider's perspective. Sandbrook, the author of a series of books about post-war Britain, takes an interesting look at America in the six year span that encapsulates nearly everything we think about "the 1970's", starting with Nixon's resignation and ending with Reagan's inauguration.

The general thesis is that the economic hardships of that time (the incredibly deep recession of 1974-1975, and the recession plus inflation of 1979-1981) fr
John Kaufmann
Sep 05, 2013 John Kaufmann rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
The book explains how the events of the 70s, following on the heels of the turmoil of the late 60s, led to the rise of the political right in the US. I lived through this period of history and have my own ideas what happened, so I was afraid the book wouldn't ring true. It seemed like a fairly objective rendition of what happened. It did place a lot of blame on the left, but did so in a way that didn't attack but sought to understand the reasons why they acted as they did. And it didn't just por ...more
Michelle Llewellyn
Best book I've come across so far that paints a balanced view of the decade in which I was born with a little spoonful of sugar by way of entertaining stories and anecdotes to make your dose of historical anlysis go down. I'm inspired to watch Network the quintesintial movie of the 70's Sandbrook opens his narrative with, then I'm going to read Peter Carroll's It Seemed Like Nothing Happened which is just one of the many (among the hundreds in the back) resources Sandbrook used while writing pro ...more
David Hines
Oct 19, 2015 David Hines rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I guess the measure of a good book is that it was interesting, readable and informative, and this book scored a home run on every count. I grew up in the 1970s and remembered many events in this book and I was fascinated to compare my recollections to the words of the historians. And even though I lived through the 1970s and have much studied the politics and presidencies of the 1970s, I learned from reading this book. Engagingly written, interesting and informative. Just a little sobering to re ...more
Mar 25, 2012 haetmonger rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"[...] a reporter, interviewing the president of the International Association of Machinists, asked if there was any way Carter could redeem himself with the public. The union man thought for a second. Then he said simply: 'Die.'"
Feb 25, 2011 Tim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was terrific. An excellent read and I look froward to reading his other books.
Marc Ballon
Jan 03, 2016 Marc Ballon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I found this book absolutely fascinating, even though I already knew most of the history. That Dominic Sandbrook is an Englishman makes "Mad As Hell" all the more impressive.
Gayla Bassham
A political/social/cultural history of the U.S. in the 1970s. I liked it quite a lot. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Mar 08, 2011 Deborah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Erich Wendt
Jul 03, 2014 Erich Wendt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
A very good look at the 1970s and its politics.
Mar 07, 2015 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
very similar to Rick Perlstein - less sarcastic, but equally entertaining. I learned more than I want to admit.
Feb 06, 2015 xhxhx rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a delightful book! If this is a cut-and-paste job, it is a very good cut-and-paste job.
Phil Bennett
Nov 30, 2012 Phil Bennett rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic and very readable account of the USA in the 1970. A lot more engaging than I was expecting from the somewhat dry title. I can't wait for Dominic Sandbrooks next book.
Aug 22, 2013 Steve rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nf
Sandbrook does the best job I've seen so far in explaining the question, "How did we get this way?" Well-researched, concise, well-written, and a great read!
Oct 11, 2012 Jfarley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very, very good history of the 70s, and how awful they were. And we're not just talking clothes and music...
Peter Etherington
Peter Etherington rated it really liked it
Sep 05, 2016
Jon rated it really liked it
May 10, 2014
Lauren Weber
Lauren Weber rated it did not like it
Feb 24, 2017
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A well-known historian, commentator and broadcaster and author of two highly acclaimed books on modern Britain: Never Had It So Good and White Heat. Their follow-up is State of Emergency.
More about Dominic Sandbrook...

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