Books: The Unloved Decade

David Frum argues that the '70s--yes, the '70s--were the years that changed it all

In January 1974 the columnist Joseph Alsop declared, "I have begun to think that the '70s are the very worst years since the history of life began on earth..." The decade seemed to be a convergence of ghastly fashions (ultrasuedes, double-knit bellbottoms and medallions, blow-dry haircuts), exotic self-esteem indulgences (est, Gestalt, bioenergetics, Arica, Reichian therapy, Krishna consciousness) and assorted bad ideas (disco, Erich von Daniken's cosmology) with such larger historical dysfunctions as double-digit inflation, riots on the gas lines, Watergate and the losing of the Vietnam War.

In How We Got Here: The 70's: The Decade That Brought You Modern Life...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!