The book you hold in your hands was an intensely collaborative endeavor crafted over a span of years. To the contributors who toiled over their essays with diligence, good humor, and patience, I owe a debt of gratitude for their professional expertise, thoughtful writing, and personal generosity. It is a daunting task to attempt to capture the spirit of a decade as expressed in its culture, politics, and visual art, but all the contributors brought an amazing array of energy, enthusiasm, and engagement to this process that made working with them a pleasure. It was truly wonderful to have them as partners on this sometimes bumpy, often illuminating, always fascinating trip through ten tumultuous years of American history.
This book started its life in Chicago and came into the world while I was in Geneva (New York). During this gestation period, I benefited from the able assistance and backing of many colleagues at both Northwestern University and Hobart and William Smith Colleges, particularly Ellen Levee (Program Administrator), Teresa Amott (Provost), and Linda Robertson (Program in Media and Society). As always, I was fortunate to have the support of my friends and family, most importantly Eugene and Eva Friedman, Rachel and Marc and Jessica Friedman, Delia and Sandy Temes, Anthony and Lee Bucci, and Allison Kavey. My co-editor in this series, Murray Pomerance, was a perpetual source of amazement, guidance, energy, and intelligence. To my wife, Rae-Ellen Kavey, I owe a constant debt for her guidance, patience, encouragement, and love.
The professionals at Rutgers University Press made the often tedious tasks of bringing a manuscript to the light of day a labor of joy. My thanks to Marilyn Campbell, Adi Hovav, and Eric Schramm. Leslie Mitchner, in particular, was a valued partner, an astute editor, and a good friend.
For all of us who came of age in the seventies and fell in love with its cinema of anti-heroes and art films, of budding auteurs and passionate critics, of exuberant style and gritty substance, I hope this book will rekindle the excitement of those heady days when movies challenged, excited, and inspired us. For those not yet born during the seventies, I hope this book encourages you to study the era and to seek out the movies of a decade overflowing with promise, excitement, sadness, and elation.