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1973 Nervous Breakdown: Watergate, Warhol, and the Birth of Post-Sixties America

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  111 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
1973 marked the end of the 1960s and the birth of a new cultural sensibility. A year of shattering political crisis, 1973 was defined by defeat in Vietnam, Roe v. Wade, the oil crisis and the Watergate hearings. It was also a year of remarkable creative ferment. From landmark movies such as The Exorcist, Mean Streets, and American Graffiti to seminal books such as Fear of ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published April 10th 2007 by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (first published 2006)
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Lisa Mcbroom
What a trip! A great book about the events of 1973. From January to July, I was a 15 year old , then July to December 17. Hillen takes events such as surburbia, The televised An American Family (TV's first reality show) Watergate (I remember being bummed about being out of school for the summer and couldn't watch my soap operas), Andy Warhol , the mystery that is Patty Hearst, and finding metaphors in the terrifying film The Exorcist of wayward youth. If you grew up in this era, let the memories ...more
Feb 03, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: finished-reading
Philosopher Michel Foucault claimed that history trembles along "fault lines," identifiable by sudden shifts like the Industrial Revolution or the Renaissance. Manhattan historian Andreas Killen finds one such line in 1973, the year America finally abandoned its romance with 1960s idealism and began a march toward grim practicality. Though the Vietnam War, which dominated the 1960s, finally ended that year, the promised age of national bodhidharma never materialized.

1973 saw many beginnings and
Aug 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
My latest bibliomaniacal jag prominently features socio-historical non-fiction books that analyze decades or years. For instance, my Kindle library contains Mark Kurlandsky’s -1968: The Year that Rocked the World, Rob Kirkpatrick’s 1969: The Year that Changed Everything, and Thomas Borstelman’s The 1970s: A New Global History from Civil Rights to Economic Inequality. By far the least hyperbolic and most fun title is the subject of this review here: 1973 Nervous Breakdown: Watergate, Warhol, and ...more
Apr 06, 2009 rated it really liked it
The last couple of cultural histories I've read that dealt with the '70s have all cited this book. A future classic? Time will tell but I was prompted to flip through it again this week. Killen's general thesis (1973 was "Year One" in the contemporary American culture wars) is debatable (an argument can also be made for 1919 or 1968 certainly just to name a few) but after reading this book the reader will conclude one thing for sure: 1973 was a really fucked up year.

Killen's prose is never bori
Mar 16, 2008 rated it did not like it
Shelves: don-t-bother
Don't bother. Couldn't get into it. 1973 was a much more exciting year than this book.
Sep 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
"'On TV POWs returning from Hanoi were shown passing the time by watching POWs returning from Hanoi on TV. ... We have entered an epoch in which nothing is real until it has been reproduced. ... Facts no longer enjoy any privilege over various renderings of them.'" (quoting Harold Rosenberg, 53)

"'I wanted to see what everyone was throwing up about.'" (female moviegoer quoted in Variety, 132)

"The collapse of older certitudes in the wake of the sixties left a vacuum into which Warholism opportunis
James Hicks
Jan 16, 2008 rated it it was ok
This book is a worthwhile immersion back into the many strains and tendencies that ran through American life and culture in the 60's and early 70's; in doing that it offers hints into the contemporary political scene. It connects many events in the political, economic, cultural life of that time. It seems to be a good entry into recent American history. The writing style is a little disorienting - in that many ideas and events are shown as being linked together but in a loose way (it felt like r ...more
Aug 24, 2016 added it
Author Killen brings together an intriguing brew of events from 1973. He believes this is the year that the 1960s and its hopeful politics really ended. Each chapter presents a theme- air travel, family, nostalgia, youth, conspiracy, etc- and then focuses on events that show how each changed. The end of the Vietnam War and Watergate are clearly central to his ideas but less well known phenomena from the arts and politics are brought in as well: 'The Exorcist', Andy Warhol, the PBS show 'An Ameri ...more
Apr 02, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: advisory-2008-09
So I finally got around to finishing this.

I still love American History. The writing in this was not exactly captivating, but the stories were, and it was nice to finally read in depth about a period in time that had always intrigued me just because of how utterly ridiculous it seemed on the surface.

Oh Richard Nixon- What did you think you were going to get away with? Really?

Also I never really liked Warhol to much and this didn't change much. Sure he's really influential in the art world but he
Nov 09, 2015 added it
A pretty cool book that covers the pop culture and politics of the early 70's. Being born in 1967, these are some of the first events that I remember being on the world news! Killen does a nice job of making sense of it all. Hell, If Garth Risk Hallberg doesn't have a copy of this- or something like it, I'll eat it. I will take that chance! See you at the outpatient clinic!
Sep 24, 2016 rated it it was ok
A somewhat rambling assortment of historical issues (not as much Watergate or Warhol as the subtitle would suggest) attempting to establish that 1973 was the year when Everything Changed (so you can put this up on the shelf next to those books which made the same claim for 1965, 1966, 1968 and 1971).
Oct 11, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reads more like a sociology text than a study of history. I took a course on Sociology 20 years ago and recognised some of the names in this book. But, while I love history, I was never that good at sociology. Much of what I read here was too complex for my understanding.
Mar 07, 2013 rated it liked it
Interesting look at the early '70s. A glimpse at life in an era of post-sexual revolution, pre-Reaganomics, Warholian times.
Chris Dean
This book held my interest and delved into subjects outside of the obvious political and cultural changes at the time .
Aug 08, 2011 added it
Very interesting and analytic examination of a pivotal year in American history.
Terry Irving
Mar 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Excellent refresher on the strange and wonderful year of 1973.
Jul 16, 2014 rated it liked it
(entered this years after reading; read this before Goodreads)

Probably enjoyed it.

Aurora library.
Sep 20, 2007 rated it liked it
Interesting and nostalgic for readers of a certain age. The cultural observations felt a little scattered and slightly forced.
Apr 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2017
This is a really good dive into a specific moment in American history, although it's never quite great. As specific as the focus appears at first, there's a lot of ground to cover. Nixon's impeachment, the end of the Vietnam War, return of the POWs, the oil crisis, the first reality show, etc., etc. And Roe v Wade, but for some reason I don't think that got anywhere near as much space as The Loud Family.

Does it all successfully tie to together as a theory of how America got from the 60s to the
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