Book Review

Book Review of The Times of the Eighties

The Times of the Eighties

The New York Times: The Times of the Eighties: The Culture, Politics, and Personalities that Shaped the Decade

I'm always on the lookout for great books to add to my history curricula and The Times of the Eighties is a perfect addition. With headlines and photographs right out of the New York Times, the 80's come to life again through a variety of hand-selected articles. For me, it was a nostalgic journey - one I look forward to sharing with Otter when we get there in our history studies!

Some of the feature articles cover subjects/people such as:

  • Reagan
  • The Challenger Shuttle explosion
  • The '89 Quake in California
  • Berlin Wall coming down
  • Diana's wedding to Prince Charles
  • Chernobyl
  • Personal Computers - an article titled "Next, A Computer on Every Desk"
  • Game Boy
  • Shoulder pads
  • The "preppy" look
  • Rubix Cube
  • Cabbage Patch Kids
  • New Coke
  • The musical Cats
  • The unveiling of CD's
  • Michael Jackson
  • VCR's

Everything is laid out in different sections/categories that make it easy to locate the articles you are interested in browsing like politics, food, arts & entertainment, science & health and more. Students will enjoy thumbing through the easily accessible layout and be entertained to learn of some of the humble beginnings of computers, video games and the like.

Colorful photographs bring attention to and illustrate the various articles like the one in the screenshot below:


You don't even want to know how badly I was dying to get a Cabbage Patch. I still have both of mine tucked up in a box somewhere, nearly destroyed but very much loved by my daughter who played with them when she was little.

This book is chock-full of goodies that really brings the 80's to life and covers most of the major events that spanned the decade. I like the fact that it used REAL newspaper articles instead of just discussing things as they happened in the past. You get to see what people living during that decade saw as they opened up their morning newspapers. That makes it more real somehow and, in my opinion, much more valuable as a teaching resource.

Not only are there articles, each section is introduced with commentary that helps readers understand the stories in historical context and how they helped shape the future. This is a book I'm including in my Awesome History Timeline Schedule as it's a great reference for students (and fun for moms and dads who grew up in the era too!).

Note: While most of the book is appropriate for students, be aware that there are a few "racy" photographs such as Brook Shields in a suggestive outfit, dancers in the musical Broadway, etc. For the most part though, everything is fairly family-friendly. Do be aware that it doesn't shy from news stories of the day though - some of them covering graphic or violent events as well as references to homosexuals being portrayed on T.V., etc. Some sections may be "boring" to students, but I think there is enough that will hold their interest, especially when comparing and contrasting the 80's with today (like the section on computers or references to VCR's, etc.).

Highly recommended, but please preview first!

*I recieved a free ARC (Advanced Review Copy) in exchange for my honest opinion.

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