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Books Set in the 1970s

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Whether you are participating in our Decades Reading Challenge or found this list while researching books about the 60s and 70s – you’ve come to the right place. Below you’ll find a list of the best books about the 1970s, and you’ll find 1960s titles here.

If you are participating in the reading challenge, you can choose any book you like that is set in the decade, but to give you a head start, we’ve compiled a great list of books about the Seventies that including historical fiction novels and modern classics that provide insights into life in this decade, both in the US and around the world, non-fiction accounts of some of the most defining political and scientific events of the era, and a few books published during the 1970s that have come to define this period of history.

Books Set in the 1970s

You can read all about the Decades Reading Challenge, download your free printable reading tracker, and find book lists for other decades here.

The Seventies were a revolutionary decade as the progressive social values that began in the 1960s – such as increasing political activism and feminism – continued to grow. The hippie culture that began in the later half of the 1960s began to fade by the mid-1970s, but the environmentalist movement really took hold.

Similarly, to the political environment, the music of the 70s created a bridge between the rebellious anthems of the 60s and the pop-ier music to come in the 80s. The sounds of the 70s tended to be a bit more relaxing, and dance music became popular, including the short lived rise of disco. The 70s music scene was also defined by lots of sex, drugs, and rock and roll.

Major Events in the 1970s

Before recommending books from each decade, we like to provide historical context. Below you’ll find a timeline of the major events of the 1970s in America and abroad, but if you’d prefer, feel free to skip straight to our list of must-read books set in the 1970s.

  • NASA’s 1970 Apollo 13 experienced an explosion shortly after launch and astronauts were able to successfully return to Earth after abandoning the moon mission.
  • In 1971, the US voting age was reduced from 21 to 18 years old with the ratification of the 26th amendment.
  • The New York Times began publishing the Pentagon Papers in 1971, which provided evidence that the US Government had been lying to the American people.
  • Walt Disney World opened in Orlando, Florida in 1971.
  • The 1972 break-in attempt at Democratic National Committee headquarters in the Watergate Office Building marked the beginning of the Watergate Scandal.
  • President Richard Nixon was re-elected to a second term in November of 1972 in the midst of questions regarding his involvement in Watergate.
  • The US ended its involvement in the Vietnam War after signing the Paris Peace Accords in January of 1973; the war officially ended two years later in 1975.
  • In the 1973 landmark case of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court ruled that abortion is a constitutional right.
  • Vice President Spiro Agnew resigned in October of 1973 following charges of tax evasion and bribery.
  • Also in October 1973, following more revelations regarding the Watergate Scandal, the House of Representatives commenced an impeachment process against President Nixon.
  • In 1974, after the Supreme Court ordered Nixon to turn over White House tape recordings regarding his involvement and cover-up in the Watergate Scandal, Nixon became the only US President to resign from office; Nixon was later pardoned by his successor, Gerald Ford.
  • In 1975, Bill Gates and Paul Allen created Microsoft, and the following year Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak create the Apple Computer Company. The first Apple II computers go on sale two years later in 1977.
  • Jaws, released in June of 1975, becomes one of the first ever blockbuster films.
  • President Gerald Ford, who became president following Nixon’s resignation, was defeated by Jimmy Carter in the 1976 Presidential race.
  • The Trans-Alaskan Oil Pipeline opened in May of 1977.
  • Known as the Iran Hostage Crisis, fifty-two American diplomats and citizens were held hostage for 444 days from November 1979 to January 20, 1981.

The Best Books About the 1970s

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If you’ve enjoyed our lists of books about the 60s and 70s, next up is our list of the best books set in the 1980s.

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