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The Great Funk: Falling Apart and Coming Together (on a Shag Rug) in the Seventies

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  78 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
In the sixties, as the nation anticipated the conquest of space, the defeat of poverty, and an end to injustice at home and abroad, no goal seemed beyond America's reach.

Then the seventies arrived-bringing oil shocks and gas lines, the disgrace and resignation of a president, defeat in Vietnam, terrorism at the 1972 Munich Olympics, urban squalor, bizarre crimes, high pric
ebook, 256 pages
Published March 31st 2009 by Sarah Crichton Books (first published November 13th 2007)
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Bob Redmond
Thomas Hine achieves his goal of "an attempt to evoke an era" but not much else in this survey of the period 1969-1981. Mostly he moves from descriptions of cultural trends and a few moments important to aging baby boomers, without much else. A veteran journalist, Hine is good on the details, but short on the argument. As a result, the book reads like an extended People magazine special issue.

Hines ignores such cultural trends as rap music (and culture), punk, and comix, to name a few things, an
Peter Mcloughlin
Aug 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: household-items
This book has gotten some criticism for being superficial but that is beside the point. The author is a writer on design. The seventies on the surface in terms of design are distinctive and stand out on this basis and make excellent material to write about. The author takes design and pop-phenomenon of the seventies and tries to find what meanings and themes run through them. So it is unfair to call the book superficial. It does not intend to be some deep tome on the Political or historical cur ...more
Jan 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-book
I admit it - I love the 70's. I love the clothes, the music, the hair, the cars, the tv shows - everything. I guess it's because I grew up then, but how can you not smile at the thought of red plaid bell bottom pants? (Yes, I had a pair myself.) This book celebrates the design of the 70's but also the changing cultural norms, politics, and society. It was all about texture apparently. The book goes into areas such as the evolving work place, home decor, the rise of houseplants, and much more. Th ...more
May 26, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the seventies, the United States "fell into a great funk. But when things fall apart you can take the fragments and make something fresh. . . . Despair at the old way of doing things gave license to try new things. . . . To live in the seventies was to live in a fallen world, one of promises broken and trust betrayed. . . . The failure of old formulas created an atmosphere of freedom, a sense of possibility that produced everything from the personal computer to the discotheque. That freedom w ...more
Cheryl Gatling
A social history of the decade, with an emphasis on fashion and design. It was fun to read because of all the pictures. My daughter also enjoyed looking at all the pictures with me. The premise is probably too oversimplified to be deeply true, but I haven't read a better explanation of the 70s. People were depressed by shortages and world problems, so they began questioning the monolithic culture that had been handed down to them, and began going off in search of their own answers. Back to the l ...more
Feb 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have always been interested in the 1970s so it was fun to read about the fashion, the pet rock and other things that were popular in the 1970s. I particularly liked reading about the interior design of peoples houses. I am fond of avocado green.
Oct 29, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Insightful and colorfully illustrated history of that decade we love to hate, the 70s. You knew about harvest gold and avocado appliances and disco; Hine gives you the cultural context that led here and it's a pleasure to read. I thought this stayed strong until the end, when he moved out of a conscientiously apolitical presentation into applicability to today--definitely worth a read.
Mar 31, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hine's thesis is not so new: Schulman started it all with his book, The Seventies, BUT Hine brings a design perspective, which since it is the 70s, adds to all the weirdness. He tries to make sense of all the brown and orange.
Aug 05, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
To be honest, I felt like I was reading an old high school yearbook, although, unlike our high school yearbook, the words were all spelled correctly.

But nonetheless, lots of the trends he describes seemed just as likely to be media phenomenon as real developments in culture.
Aug 31, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fun description of how design in the 1970s reflected the events and mood of the times. The 70s were my school age years, so it was interesting to hear someone ascribe meaning to all the quirky pop culture elements of my childhood and adolescence.
its interesting at first but the writer starts to meander along the farther he gets into his subject. Also, he makes the mistake so many cultural historians do by assuming what was going on in New York and LA was going on in Omaha, Austin, and Columbus.
There should have been more and better pictures. Still it made me want to travel back in time to kick Phyllis Schlafly in the uterus and talk to my plants more. Really talk to them, you know? I also want wallpaper on my ceilings.
Feb 03, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to HeavyReader by: Cassidy
Shelves: us-history
Cassidy sent me this book all about the 70s. It was really enlightening to me, someone who was born in 1971, but didn't know much about the decade. I'm glad to know what was going on during my formative years. A good read with nice pictures.
May 29, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I grew up in the seventies (graduated from high school in 1977) so I was really able to relate to this book. I remember all the fads, the shortages, etc. Total nostalgia for me!

Can't believe the CB radio fad wasn't mentioned though.
Broc Christian
Oct 16, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: college-class
Very interesting insight into the style, decor, and how the attitude of the 70's affected the everyday life of Americans. Good read.
Rodney Haydon
I enjoyed Populuxe better than this retrospective of the 70's. A very shallow look at the decade, that really just reminded me of all that went wrong during that time.
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Thomas Hine is a writer on history, culture and design. He is the author of five books, and he contributes frequently to magazines, including The Magazine Antiques, Philadelphia Magazine, Atlantic Monthly, Martha Stewart Living, Architectural Record and others. He is a senior contributing writer to Home Miami and Home Fort Lauderdale.

He has been praised in the New Yorker by John Updike for his "mi
More about Thomas Hine...