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Books of the 1970s

There are always books in the library or on the best seller shelf in the local bookstore that touch the heart, cause some controversy, or have an everlasting effect on those who read them.

This was true of the literature of the books of the 70s as well.

There were a number of books written during the 70s that would change the way readers thought about a variety of subjects.

Some of these books in the 70s would become classic literature and are still being read today, often as part of a particular curriculum in high schools and college.

Others books would catapult certain authors to fame, making them a regular household name.

Here’s a sampling of some of the more notable books of the 1970s:

Roots – This 1976 book by Alex Haley, for which the subtitle was “The Saga of an American Family”, tells the story of Haley’s African-American family, with a young African man named Kunta Kinte, who was sold into slavery in the American South. It became the must-read of the decade.

Love Story – Later a hit film with Ali McGraw and Ryan O’Neal, Love Story – by Erich Segal – told the story of two young co-eds who meet at Harvard/Cambridge, fall in love, and are destined to live a happy life…until health issues comes along and takes one of them away. A real tear jerker!

Jonathan Livingston Seagull – Released in 1972, Richard Bach’s book is best classified as a fable. The story is told through the eyes of a seagull that is learning about life in his quest to fly. Most proponents of the book touted its deep spiritual meaning and it was often found among the self-help books. It remained on the best seller list for 38 weeks and later became a feature film.

Watership Down – This is one of many books of the decade that took on the subject of tyranny vs. freedom. An allegory, like Orwell’s Animal Farm, Watership Down was written by Englishman Richard Adams, who maintained that the book was based on simple stories he used to tell his daughters.

Carrie – This 1974 novel about a girl who uses her telekinetic powers to torture those who tease her would be the first major hit for horror genre genius, Stephen King. He’d also release several other best sellers during the decade including Salem’s Lot and The Shining.

Ragtime – E.L. Doctorow’s 1975 novel is a work of historic fiction set in turn-of-the-century New York City. It addresses several controversial subjects. Twenty years later, it became a notable Broadway musical.

All the President’s Men and The Final Days – These two non-fiction books by Washington Post writers Woodward and Bernstein documented the Watergate scandal and the downfall of President Richard Nixon, respectively. Both were huge hits lovers of politics.

The Right Stuff – This Tom Wolfe book profiled the men who risked their lives as early NASA test pilots and astronauts. A decade later, millions watched the movie based on the book.