Stayin' Alive

The 1970s and the Last Days of the Working Class

By Jefferson R. Cowie
(New Press, Paperback, 9781595587077, 464pp.)

Publication Date: January 2012

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Winner of the Society of American Historians’ 2011 Francis Parkman Prize

A wide-ranging cultural and political history that will forever redefine a misunderstood decade, Stayin’ Alive is a remarkable account of how working-class America hit the rocks in the political and economic upheavals of the 1970s. In this edgy and incisive bookpart political intrigue, part labor history, with large doses of American music, film, and TV lore&mdashCowie, with an ear for the power and poetry of vernacular speech” (Cleveland Plain Dealer), reveals America’s fascinating and little-understood path from the rising incomes and optimism of the New Deal to the widening economic inequalities and dampened expectations of the present.

Hailed by Rick Perlstein in The Nation as one [of] our most commanding interpreters of recent American experience,” prizewinning labor historian Jefferson Cowie takes us from the factory floors of Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Detroit to the Washington of Nixon, Ford, and Carter, connecting politics and culture, and showing how the big screen and the jukebox can help us understand how America turned away from the radicalism of the 1960s and toward the patriotic promise of Ronald Reagan.

Published to great acclaim in hardcover, Stayin’ Alive captures nothing less than the defining characteristics of a new eraa history with profound relevance for our own times.

About the Author
Cowie teaches labor history at the School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University.
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