Culture in an Age of Money: The Legacy of the 1980s in America

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As the Reagan administration began, Nancy Reagan chose new china for the White House-at a cost of $209,508. The pattern for the decade was struck. As the Reagans made wealth seem glamorous, what followed was a culture dominated by a belief in the magic of the marketplace. Money words became the key language for the eighties, and they signaled a culture with an insatiable need to proclaim its triumphs. In the wake of the Reagan years, fifteen brilliant essayists survey the kind of culture created by Reagan politics and Reagan ideology. From architecture to the yuppie ascendancy, including politics, film, art, literature, finance, fashion, religion, and civil rights, eighties' culture is explored with telling analysis and penetrating wit. When most of these essays first appeared in Dissent magazine, the Village Voice called them a must read. We are not likely to get a sharper appraisal of our contemporary culture than this. The contributors are William Adams, Laura Bergheim, Mark Caldwell, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Todd Gitlin, Josephine Hendin, Hendrik Hertzberg, Irving Howe, Ross Miller, Nicolaus Mills, Robert Reich, Herman Schwartz, Debora Silverman, Alessandra Stanley, and Sean Wilentz.