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.

For additional historical context, check out the timeline of major world events included at the end of the post.

Highly Rated Books About the 1970s

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

Sign Up for the Decades Challenge

Sign up for our email list below to receive a free printable tracker for the Decades Challenge. Our weekly email newsletter helps you stay on track with friendly reminders while still allowing you the flexibility to read at your own pace. Additionally, challenge participants have an opportunity to discuss the books on this list and to provide ratings and reviews via our book logs.

Major World Events in the 1970s

We compiled this list of major events of the time period to provide some historical context for your reading. We hope you enjoy learning a bit more about this period in history.

  • 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.


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