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Books Set in the 1970s

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.

We’ve compiled a great list of books about the Seventies. Our recommendations include historical fiction novels and modern classics. The books on our list provide insights into life in the 70s, including non-fiction accounts of defining political and scientific events of the era. A few of the books published during the 1970s have come to define this period of history.

The Seventies: A Revolutionary Decade

The Seventies were a revolutionary decade. 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 latter half of the 1960s began to fade by the mid-1970s. At that point, the environmentalist movement really took hold.

Similarly, the music of the 70s bridged the rebellious anthems of the 60s and poppy music of the 80s. The sounds of the 70s tended to be a bit more relaxing. Dance music also became popular, including the short-lived rise of disco. The 70s music scene was defined by sex, drugs, and rock and roll.

Major World Events in the 1970s

Before choosing a book, it’s helpful to have some historical context. Below you’ll find a timeline of the major events of the 1970s in America and abroad. 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. Astronauts were able to successfully return to Earth after abandoning the moon mission.
  • In 1971, the ratification of the 26th Amendment reduced the US voting age from 21 to 18.
  • The New York Times began publishing the Pentagon Papers in 1971. The documents provided evidence that the US Government had been lying to the American people regarding Vietnam.
  • Walt Disney World opened in Orlando, Florida in 1971.
  • The 1972 break-in attempt at Democratic National Committee headquarters marked the beginning of the Watergate Scandal.
  • President Richard Nixon was re-elected to a second term in November of 1972 despite 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, 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. The following year Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak create the Apple Computer Company. The first Apple II computers went on sale two years later in 1977.
  • Jaws, released in June of 1975, became 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. The crisis stretched from November 1979 to January 20, 1981.

Highly Rated Books About the 1970s

You are welcome to choose any book that you’d like to read for the Decades Challenge, but we hope that this list of books set in the 1970s has given you a good starting point.

Members of our email list and Facebook group, Read with the Book Girls can log ratings for their monthly challenge reads. The log’s data is used for the “BGG Reader Ratings” that are added to descriptions for future years. We’d love you to contribute your rating after you’ve finished your read this month.

Join the Decades Reading Challenge

Photo of the decades reading challenge printable with text about how to join the challenge

Book Recommendations from Other Decades

If you’ve enjoyed our lists of books about the 60s and 70s, try our list of the best books set in the 1980s next. And if you love learning about different time periods through book, use the index below to fill your TBR!

Can you send me a printable list with book titles but not descriptions?

This was a big request last year that we weren’t able to add to our plates in 2022. New for 2023, readers who support Book Girls Guide through our Buy Me a Coffee membership site will receive special monthly printable journal pages as a thank you bonus. The voluntary members (we call them our BFFs) help cover the cost of running the challenges so we can keep them free for everyone.

We’re so excited to be able to offer this fun perk this year!

Every book title is pre-filled on the printable book tracker for the month. The tracker also includes space for you to mark your interest level, make notes about whether you’ve requested the book from the library (or any other notes you’d like), and then fill in your rating. We’ll also include blank lines in case you have other books on your TBR (to be read) list that meet the prompt. We’d love you to sign up here!

That said, you’ll always find the most updated version of our recommendations with descriptions each month at no cost on our website. We do update the list and descriptions regularly based on reader feedback. But, we know some of you wanted to print the list to take to the library or bookstore, and we hope this helps.



Angela & Melissa

The Book Girls are best friends who jointly read over 200 books per year. We started Book Girls' Guide in 2019 to help others de-stress and find joy through the power of a great book. We do in-depth research on thousands of novels and non-fiction titles each year to provide curated book lists covering a variety of genres.

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