Mad as Hell

March 25th, 2011

The laws of physics tell us that for every action there is a reaction of equal or greater force. The progress of the 60’s, the Great Society, the awakening of women, gays and the Civil Rights movement, all would prompt a reaction in the 70's that would create a backlash to be exploited by angry populists. Combine this fear of "progress" with bad economics, the oil shortages, energy cutbacks and Jimmy Carter's malaise and you have one of the dreariest decades in the 20th Century.

Couple all of this with our loss of confidence in basic institutions, Watergate, Iran, a dramatic increase in crime, our failures during the cold war and the impotency of the Carter Presidency, and it’s no wonder people ended the decade Mad as Hell. Historian Dominic Sandbrook, in his book  Mad as Hell: The Crisis of the 1970s and the Rise of the Populist Right takes us inside this seminal decade. My conversation with Dominic Sandbrook: