Back to Our Future by David Sirota
How the 1980s Explain the World We Live in Now--Our Culture, Our Politics, Our Everything

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Synopsis

Wall Street scandals. Fights over taxes. Racial resentments. A Lakers-Celtics championship. The Karate Kid topping the box-office charts. Bon Jovi touring the country. These words could describe our current moment—or the vaunted iconography of three decades past.

In this wide-ranging and wickedly entertaining book, New York Times bestselling journalist David Sirota takes readers on a rollicking DeLorean ride back in time to reveal how so many of our present-day conflicts are rooted in the larger-than-life pop culture of the 1980s—from the “Greed is good” ethos of Gordon Gekko (and Bernie Madoff) to the “Make my day” foreign policy of Ronald Reagan (and George W. Bush) to the “transcendence” of Cliff Huxtable (and Barack Obama).

Today’s mindless militarism and hypernarcissism, Sirota argues, first became the norm when an ’80s generation weaned on Rambo one-liners and “Just Do It” exhortations embraced a new religion—with comic books, cartoons, sneaker commercials, videogames, and even children’s toys serving as the key instruments of cultural indoctrination. Meanwhile, in productions such as Back to the Future, Family Ties, and The Big Chill, a campaign was launched to reimagine the 1950s as America’s lost golden age and vilify the 1960s as the source of all our troubles. That 1980s revisionism, Sirota shows, still rages today, with Barack Obama cast as the 60s hippie being assailed by Alex P. Keaton–esque Republicans who long for a return to Eisenhower-era conservatism.

“The past is never dead,” William Faulkner wrote. “It’s not even past.” The 1980s—even more so. With the native dexterity only a child of the Atari Age could possess, David Sirota twists and turns this multicolored Rubik’s Cube of a decade, exposing it as a warning for our own troubled present—and possible future.


From the Hardcover edition.
 

About David Sirota

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DAVID SIROTA is a political organizer and nationally syndicated newspaper columnist. His first book, Hostile Takeover, was a New York Times bestseller, and his column runs weekly in the Denver Post, San Francisco Chronicle, Seattle Times, and elsewhere. He lives in Denver, Colorado, with his wife, Emily, and their dog, Monty.
 
Published March 15, 2011 by Ballantine Books. 304 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Back to Our Future

Kirkus Reviews

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While applauding the morale-boosting heft of Nike’s 1988 “Just Do It” campaign, Sirota evenhandedly criticizes today’s reality-TV–obsessed, attention-starved Facebook generation for its self-centeredness as something “the 1980s did to us, and what the 1980s mentally makes us want to be.” Footnote...

Mar 15 2011 | Read Full Review of Back to Our Future: How the 1...

The Wall Street Journal

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Mr. Sirota delves into of the Age of Excess to reveal how we were hoodwinked—all of us, of course, except for Mr. Sirota, the clear-eyed Cassandra of rec rooms everywhere.

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The Wall Street Journal

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David Sirota makes no secret of his political leanings.

Mar 12 2011 | Read Full Review of Back to Our Future: How the 1...

The Washington Times

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“Back to Our Future: How the 1980s Explain the World We Live in Now _ Our Culture, Our Politics, Our Everything” (Ballantine Books), by David Sirota: Ah, the 1980s.

Mar 16 2011 | Read Full Review of Back to Our Future: How the 1...

AV Club

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Don’t be fooled by that Rubik’s Cube on the cover: David Sirota’s new book, Back To Our Future: How The 1980s Explain The World We Live In Now—Our Culture, Our Politics, Our Everything isn’t some giddy nostalgic romp through the past.

Apr 14 2011 | Read Full Review of Back to Our Future: How the 1...

Huntington News

David Sirota, author of "Back to Our Future: How the 1980s Explain the World We Live in Now -- Our Culture, Our Politics, Our Everything" (Ballantine Books, 304 pages, notes, glossary of 1980s, $25.00) may be on to something.

Apr 13 2011 | Read Full Review of Back to Our Future: How the 1...

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