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

Thomas Hine, Author . Sarah Crichton/FSG $35 (241p) ISBN 978-0-374-14839-3

Twenty-one years after revisiting 1950s style in Populuxe , Hine makes a case for the 1970s, rejecting the popular appraisal of the era as “a slum of a decade... when everything shattered” in favor of an appreciation for the overwhelming degree to which Americans experimented with new styles and new ways of life in order to rediscover themselves after Vietnam, Watergate and inflation made conformist culture less palatable. To Hine, a design critic and historian, the '70s aren't so much “the decade that taste forgot” as a time when the old tastemakers were deliberately set aside, creating fleeting but instantly recognizable styles. Nearly every page features illustrations, both in color and black-and-white, creating a richly layered visual record of everything from Earth shoes to pet rocks. This is not mere nostalgia—even as he celebrates the advances of feminism and gay liberation, Hine recognizes that such progress was born out of great turmoil (the “funk” in his title refers both to a musical style and a depressive state). Yet it is those small pockets of optimism amid the chaos that he holds up as most relevant to our contemporary situation—just maybe without such wide lapels. (Nov.)

Reviewed on: 09/24/2007
Release date: 11/01/2007
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 241 pages - 978-0-374-53167-6
Open Ebook - 256 pages - 978-1-4299-2415-3
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