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No Direction HomeThe American Family and the Fear of National Decline, 1968-1980$
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Natasha Zaretsky

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780807830949

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807867808_zaretsky

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(p.1) Introduction
No Direction Home

Natasha Zaretsky

University of North Carolina Press

This book examines the anxieties about both national decline and family decline that persisted in the United States between 1968 and 1980, from the time of Richard Nixon when he called the public's attention to American prisoners of war and their families, to Ronald Reagan's presidential campaign that coincided with the Iranian hostage crisis. It looks at the succession of upheavals—including the U.S. military defeat in the Vietnam War, the OPEC oil embargo, and the emergence of new social movements such as feminism that contested the role of the nuclear family in the American culture—that seemed to counter the prevailing notion that America was politically, militarily, economically, and morally capable of being the leader in world affairs and in providing for domestic prosperity. In particular, the book looks at the way America's national identity and family ideal were both transformed as part of a single process. Each chapter probes the place of the family in debates about American decline during the so-called “long 1970s”.

Keywords:   national decline, family decline, United States, prisoners of war, Vietnam War, oil embargo, social movements, feminism, nuclear family, national identity

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