U.S. Intellectual History Blog

Historiography of the 1980s: An Initial Bibliography

Thanks to all who suggested titles for my crowd-sourced historiography of the 1980s.  Below is an initial bibliography.  Please feel free to add additional suggestions in the comments.*

While there are clearly several excellent studies of the period, the 1980s is hardly the burned-over district of historiography, especially in the field of U.S. intellectual and cultural history.  As Alice averred, there is plenty of room.

Historiography of the 1980s

Brier, Jennifer. Infectious Ideas: U.S. Political Responses to the AIDS Crisis. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2009.
Brownlee, W. Elliot and Hugh Davis Graham. The Reagan Presidency: Pragmatic Conservatism and its Legacies. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 2003.
Collins, Robert M. Transforming America: Politics and Culture During the Reagan Years. New York: Columbia University Press, 2007.
Courtwright, David. No Right Turn: Conservative Politics in a Liberal America. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2010.
Diggins, John Patrick. Ronald Reagan: Fate, Freedom, and the Making of History. New York: W.W. Norton, 2008.
Ehrman, John. The Eighties: America in the Age of Reagan. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006.
Gosse, Van and Richard Moser, eds. The World the Sixties Made: Politics and Culture in Recent America. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2003.
Grandin, Greg. Empire’s Workshop: Latin America, the United States, and the Rise of the New Imperialism. New York: Metropolitan Books, 2006.
Harvey, David. A Brief History of Neoliberalism. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005.
Jenkins, Philip. Decade of Nightmares: The End of the Sixties and the Making of Eighties America. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006.
Livingston, James. The World Turned Inside Out: American Thought and Culture at the End of the 20th Century. American Thought and Culture. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2010.
Mann, James. The Rebellion of Ronald Reagan: A History of the End of the Cold War. New York: Viking, 2009.
Martin, Bradford. The Other Eighties: A Secret History of America in the Age of Reagan. New York: Hill and Wang, 2011.
McGuire, Danielle and John Dittmer, eds. Freedom Rights: New Perspectives on the Civil Rights Movement. Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky, 2011.
Panitch, Leo and Sam Gindin. The Making of Global Capitalism: The Political Economy of the American Empire. London: Verso Books, 2012.
Patterson, James T. Restless Giant: The United States from Watergate to Bush v. Gore. The Oxford History of the United States. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005.
Rodgers, Daniel. Age of Fracture. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, 2011.
Troy, Gil. Morning in America: How Ronald Reagan Invented the 1980s. Politics and Society in Twentieth-Century America. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2007.
Wilentz, Sean. The Age of Reagan: A History, 1974-2008. New York: Harper, 2008.

*If anybody wants to pull this bibliography and use it as a “for further reading” list in your syllabus, go for it.  No need to attribute it to me — it was a group effort — but a citation / link for the U.S. Intellectual History blog would be nice (see our Creative Commons license in the sidebar).  If you do pull the whole list, I’m not sure how the formatting will copy/paste — I did the hanging indents with HTML tags (directions here).

6 Thoughts on this Post

S-USIH Comment Policy

We ask that those who participate in the discussions generated in the Comments section do so with the same decorum as they would in any other academic setting or context. Since the USIH bloggers write under our real names, we would prefer that our commenters also identify themselves by their real name. As our primary goal is to stimulate and engage in fruitful and productive discussion, ad hominem attacks (personal or professional), unnecessary insults, and/or mean-spiritedness have no place in the USIH Blog’s Comments section. Therefore, we reserve the right to remove any comments that contain any of the above and/or are not intended to further the discussion of the topic of the post. We welcome suggestions for corrections to any of our posts. As the official blog of the Society of US Intellectual History, we hope to foster a diverse community of scholars and readers who engage with one another in discussions of US intellectual history, broadly understood.

  1. Okay….I think I know what I’m reading through this weekend! Thanks again for doing this. I know I’ll use it in my research for future papers and, ultimately, my dissertation.

  2. Joseph A. McCartin, Collision Course: Ronald Reagan, the Air Traffic Controllers, and the Strike that Changed America

    Jane Gerhard, The Dinner Party: Judy Chicago and the Power of Popular Feminism

    And thanks for these other lists……

Comments are closed.