Back when irony was just a literary device and people wore bell-bottoms for their own sake, Western civilization reached its zenith and nadir simultaneously. Jonathan Vankin’s Big Book of the ’70s looks in surprising depth at the trends and the notable figures of that decade, using illustrations from dozens of excellent comics artists like Shary Flenniken and Terry Laban. Richard Nixon, Jane Fonda, Burt Reynolds, and Jimmy Carter all get the Big Book treatment in a delicious combination of behind-the-scenes peeks and easily digested history lessons. Fads and phenomena like disco, running, and the rise of the women’s movement are also explained and, in some cases, followed up through modern times. The writing is clear and snappy, the illustration is consistently well-done, and the topics chosen are a thorough, comprehensive mix of lightweight (pet rocks) and serious (Vietnam). “The Big Book of the 70′s” is a comprehensive and educational journey back to the most tumultuous and tacky decade of modern history. Using comic strips to revisit the “Me” Era, this entertaining cultural history text looks at the origins and emergence of all the oddities, disasters and achievements. A roller coaster ride through a time of extreme change and diversity, this book shows not only the fads and phenomena of the seventies but also how they have affected today’s society.