1970s

The Dark Age of Animation

Scooby-do

From the mid-1950s to the late 1980s, the world of animation in the United States experienced a severe quality drought. Television animation was cheaply and quickly produced and loaded with errors. Feature-length animation experienced severe budget cuts, and the number of animated movies being released was drastically reduced. Cartoons that many generations grew up watching were made with “limited animation”—a style that utilized as few frames as possible, which resulted in choppy, simplified character motions.

Ruffian: A Racetrack Romance

By William Nack

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"As a young boy in Illinois, William Nack carried in his pocket a trading card of his hero, Swaps, winner of the 1955 Kentucky Derby. As a young an adult, he climbed on a table at an office party and rattled off from memory the names of every horse who had ever won America's premiere race. Newsday promptly promoted him to the paper's turfbeat. Weeks later, Nack began an unprecedented streak of good fortune at Belmont Racetrack. He met a young colt named Secretariat and found himself writing an equine biography, 'the gold standard of horse books,' according to Seabiscuit author Laura Hillenbrand.

"Upon publication, Nack returned to the track to meet Ruffian, a daring filly who endeared herself to a generation of fathers and daughters with a magnificently inspiring, ten-race winning streak. On July 6, 1975, she was leading the colt Foolish Pleasure in a nationally-televised match race when her luck ran out. She shattered her ankle and had to be taken from the track by ambulance. After a heroic attempt to mend her leg with surgery, Ruffian was put down later that evening. In this moving, lyrical memoir, Nack chronicles his real-life romance with the sport's most famous filly and the tragic afternoon that forever changed his love affair with the track."

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The Corpse Had a Familiar Face: Covering Miami, America's Hottest Beat

By Edna Buchanan

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For eighteen years, Pulitzer Prize-winner Edna Buchanan had one of the most exciting, frightening, and heartbreaking jobs a newspaperwoman could have -- working the police beat for the Miami Herald. Having covered more crimes than most cops, Buchanan garnered a reputation as a savvy, gritty writer with a unique point of view and inimitable style. Now, back in print after many years, The Corpse Had a Familiar Face is her classic collection of true stories, as witnessed and reported by Buchanan herself. From cold-blooded murder, to violence in the heat of passion, to the everyday insanity of the city streets, Edna Buchanan reveals it all in her own trademark blend of compassionate reporting, hard-nosed investigation, and wry humor that has made her a legend in the world of journalism.

 

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Journey from the Land of No: A Girlhood Caught in Revolutionary Iran

By Roya Hakakian

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A Jew in a land where Islamic fundamentalism grew ever stronger, Roya was twelve when the revolution came, closing opportunities to the young woman even as she matured into a brilliant student.

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Five Finger Discount: A Crooked Family History

By Helene Stapinski

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"As Stapinski writes, Jersey City was a tough place to grow up, except I didn't know any better. In this unforgettable memoir, Stapinski tells the heartbreaking yet often hilarious story of growing up among swindlers, bookies, and crooks. With deadpan humor and obvious affection, she comes clean with the outrageous tales that have swirled around her relatives for decades, and recounts the epic drama and comedy of living in a household in which petty crime was a way of life. The dinner Helene's mother put on the table (often prime rib, lobster tail, and fancy cakes) was usually swiped from the cold-storage company where Helene's father worked. The soap and toothpaste in the bathroom were lifted from the local Colgate factory. The books on the family's shelves were smuggled out of a book-binding company in Aunt Mary Ann's oversize girdle (or taken by Grandpa Beansie from the Free Public Library). Uncle Henry did a booming business as the neighborhood bookie, cousins did jail time, and Great-Aunt Katie, who liked to take a shot of whiskey each morning to clear her lungs, was a ward leader in the notorious Jersey City political machine.

"No backdrop could be more appropriate for the Stapinskis than Jersey City; a place known for its ties to the Mafia, industrial blight, and corrupt local officials, and the author ingeniously weaves the checkered history of her hometown throughout the book. Navigating a childhood of toxic waste and tough love, Stapinski tells an extraordinary tale that, unlike the swag of her childhood, is her very own."

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Gerald R. Ford

By Douglas Brinkley

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"The 'accidental' president whose innate decency and steady hand restored the presidency after its greatest crisis When Gerald R. Ford entered the White House in August 1974, he inherited a presidency tarnished by the Watergate scandal, the economy was in a recession, the Vietnam War was drawing to a close, and he had taken office without having been elected. Most observers gave him little chance of success, especially after he pardoned Richard Nixon just a month into his presidency, an action that outraged many Americans, but which Ford thought was necessary to move the nation forward.

"Many people today think of Ford as a man who stumbled a lot--clumsy on his feet and in politics--but acclaimed historian Douglas Brinkley shows him to be a man of independent thought and conscience, who never allowed party loyalty to prevail over his sense of right and wrong. As a young congressman, he stood up to the isolationists in the Republican leadership, promoting a vigorous role for America in the world. Later, as House minority leader and as president, he challenged the right wing of his party, refusing to bend to their vision of confrontation with the Communist world. And after the fall of Saigon, Ford also overruled his advisers by allowing Vietnamese refugees to enter the United States, arguing that to do so was the humane thing to do. Brinkley draws on exclusive interviews with Ford and on previously unpublished documents (including a remarkable correspondence between Ford and Nixon stretching over four decades), fashioning a masterful reassessment of Gerald R. Ford's presidency and his underappreciated legacy to the nation."

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Action Figure! The Life and Times of Doonesbury's Uncle Duke

By G.B. Trudeau

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"...the definitive history of his adventures from 1970 to 1991.The perennial bad boy of American comics has always been a man of action: libelous action, irrational action, covert action, back-street action -- even when comatose, he has a certain flair. Duke is the man of a thousand vices, with almost as many pages to his resume. For 17 years, from Samoa to China to Panama to Kuwait, wherever serious mischief was being dealt, Duke has been a major figure. Action Figure! gives the Toasted One his due -- one vast, staggering flashback that tracks his careening career from Gonzo Journalist to Governor, Ambassador, Coach, Laetrile Farmer, Fugitive, and Zombie. No risk has been too great, no prospect too strange, to sway the man with nerves of steel from his random course."

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Shock Value: How a Few Eccentric Outsiders Gave Us Nightmares, Conquered Hollywood, and Invented Modern Horror

By Jason Zinoman

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"Based on unprecedented access to the genre's major players, New York Times film critic Zinoman delivers the first definitive account of horror's golden age--the 1970s, when such directors as Wes Craven, Roman Polanski, John Carpenter, and Brian De Palma redefined the genre."

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Comedy at the Edge: How Stand-up in the 1970s Changed America

By Richard Zoglin

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"In the rock-and-roll 1970s, a new breed of comic, inspired by the fearless Lenny Bruce, made telling jokes an art form. Innovative comedians like George Carlin, Richard Pryor, and Robert Klein, and, later, Steve Martin, Albert Brooks, Robin Williams, and Andy Kaufman, tore through the country and became as big as rock stars in an era when Saturday Night Live was the apotheosis of cool and the Improv, Catch a Rising Star, and the Comedy Store were the hottest clubs around.

"In Comedy at the Edge, Richard Zoglin gives a backstage view of the time, when a group of brilliant, iconoclastic comedians ruled the world--and quite possibly changed it, too. Based on extensive interviews with club owners, agents, producers--and with unprecedented and unlimited access to the players themselves-- Comedy at the Edge is a no-holdsbarred, behind-the-scenes look at one of the most influential and tumultuous decades in American popular culture."

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