Wednesday, January 8, 2014

1973 Nervous Breakdown

2006, first edition, from Bloomsbury
Andreas Killen
1973 Nervous Breakdown: Watergate, Warhol, and the Birth of Post-Sixties America
Original price $24.95, purchase price $1.00
Hardcover in good condition

This is only the second time I've read this book, and I'm still not sure if I like it, or even if it's a book that can be "liked."  Killen focuses on the pivotal year 1973, with some looks forward and back, but not only is this far from my favorite year of the 1970s, I don't think of most of the topics that he focuses on, Watergate aside.  POWs, skyjackers, and religious cults are not terribly interesting to me.  Even when Killen focuses on pop culture besides Warhol, it's things that I've never seen or heard, like the New York Dolls, Fear of Flying, Badlands, and An American Family (the reality-TV pioneer about the Loud family), or ones that aren't very meaningful to me, like American Graffiti.  (Even so, I felt like like I knew that movie better than Killen, since he thinks Wolfman Jack is "a person of color.")  Also, it seems wrong that Ronald Reagan is repeatedly mentioned, sometimes as being elected "at the end of the decade," while Carter merits only one mention, for pardoning Patty Hearst.  True, few outside Georgia knew who Carter was in 1973, while Reagan was a nationally known Governor of California, but couldn't Killen have connected Carter's election with the breakdown of three years earlier?

Still, I found the book well written and sometimes insightful.  I'll give Killen kudos for presenting 1973 as it seemed to him and making it more interesting than I expected.  And if it was true seven (almost eight) years ago that we were still experiencing the aftershocks of that earthquake of a year, it's still true now.

No comments:

Post a Comment