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Rock Me on the Water: 1974-The Year Los Angeles Transformed Movies, Music, Television, and Politics
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In this exceptional cultural history, Atlantic Senior Editor Ronald Brownstein—"one of America's best political journalists (The Economist)—tells the kaleidoscopic story of one monumental year that marked the city of Los Angeles' creative peak, a glittering moment when popular culture was ahead of politics in predicting what America would become.
Los Angeles in 1974 exerted more influence over popular culture than any other city in America. Los Angeles that year, in fact, dominated popular culture more than it ever had before, or would again. Working in film, recording, and television studios around Sunset Boulevard, living in Brentwood and Beverly Hills or amid the flickering lights of the Hollywood Hills, a cluster of transformative talents produced an explosion in popular culture which reflected the demographic, social, and cultural realities of a changing America. At a time when Richard Nixon won two presidential elections with a message of backlash against the social changes unleashed by the sixties, popular culture was ahead of politics in predicting what America would become. The early 1970s in Los Angeles was the time and the place where conservatives definitively lost the battle to control popular culture.

Rock Me on the Water traces the confluence of movies, music, television, and politics in Los Angeles month by month through that transformative, magical year. Ronald Brownstein reveals how 1974 represented a confrontation between a massive younger generation intent on change, and a political order rooted in the status quo. Today, we are again witnessing a generational cultural divide. Brownstein shows how the voices resistant to change may win the political battle for a time, but they cannot hold back the future.

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Street Date:
03/23/2021
Language:
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ISBN:
9780062899231
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B087QH7PHQ
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APA Citation (style guide)

Ronald Brownstein. (2021). Rock Me on the Water: 1974-The Year Los Angeles Transformed Movies, Music, Television, and Politics. Harper.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Ronald Brownstein. 2021. Rock Me On the Water: 1974-The Year Los Angeles Transformed Movies, Music, Television, and Politics. Harper.

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Ronald Brownstein, Rock Me On the Water: 1974-The Year Los Angeles Transformed Movies, Music, Television, and Politics. Harper, 2021.

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Ronald Brownstein. Rock Me On the Water: 1974-The Year Los Angeles Transformed Movies, Music, Television, and Politics. Harper, 2021. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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        Ronald Brownstein, a two-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of presidential campaigns, is a senior editor at The Atlantic, and a senior political analyst for CNN. He also served as the national political correspondent and national affairs columnist for the Los Angeles Times and covered he White House and national politics for the National Journal. His is the author of six previous books, most recently, The Second Civil War: How Extreme Partisanship Has Paralyzed Washington and Polarized America.

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In this exceptional cultural history, Atlantic Senior Editor Ronald Brownstein—"one of America's best political journalists (The Economist)—tells the kaleidoscopic story of one monumental year that marked the city of Los Angeles' creative peak, a glittering moment when popular culture was ahead of politics in predicting what America would become.
Los Angeles in 1974 exerted more influence over popular culture than any other city in America. Los Angeles that year, in fact, dominated popular culture more than it ever had before, or would again. Working in film, recording, and television studios around Sunset Boulevard, living in Brentwood and Beverly Hills or amid the flickering lights of the Hollywood Hills, a cluster of transformative talents produced an explosion in popular culture which reflected the demographic, social, and cultural realities of a changing America. At a time when Richard Nixon won two presidential elections with a message of...

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In this exceptional cultural history, Atlantic Senior Editor Ronald Brownstein—"one of America's best political journalists (The Economist)—tells the kaleidoscopic story of one monumental year that marked the city of Los Angeles' creative peak, a glittering moment when popular culture was ahead of politics in predicting what America would become.
Los Angeles in 1974 exerted more influence over popular culture than any other city in America. Los Angeles that year, in fact, dominated popular culture more than it ever had before, or would again. Working in film, recording, and television studios around Sunset Boulevard, living in Brentwood and Beverly Hills or amid the flickering lights of the Hollywood Hills, a cluster of transformative talents produced an explosion in popular culture which reflected the demographic, social, and cultural realities of a changing America. At a time when Richard Nixon won two presidential elections with a message of backlash against the social changes unleashed by the sixties, popular culture was ahead of politics in predicting what America would become. The early 1970s in Los Angeles was the time and the place where conservatives definitively lost the battle to control popular culture.

Rock Me on the Water traces the confluence of movies, music, television, and politics in Los Angeles month by month through that transformative, magical year. Ronald Brownstein reveals how 1974 represented a confrontation between a massive younger generation intent on change, and a political order rooted in the status quo. Today, we are again witnessing a generational cultural divide. Brownstein shows how the voices resistant to change may win the political battle for a time, but they cannot hold back the future.

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reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: Douglas Brinkley, author of American Moonshot
      • content: "Brownstein's kaleidoscopic account of a historic generational transformation that took place in American culture, American politics, and American life in the crucible of modern Los Angeles during the magical year of 1974. It encapsulates in compelling detail the moment when young people and young ideas were moving in on an older generation, based on the strength of new-found creativity and idealism. It documents the triumphs and failures of that new generation with vividness, humor, and, most of all, deep understanding. Running through every page is the author's deep love for his adopted home. A beautiful ride through an unforgettable time."
      • premium: False
      • source: Jake Tapper
      • content: "More than just summarizing or reviewing what such films and shows were about, the author dives deep into how they were created, financed, promoted and received. His many interviews with actors, writers, directors and executives of that era lend such renderings veracity and energy."
      • premium: False
      • source: New York Times
      • content: "Brownstein knits together the threads of history to show that, for the first time in 1974, politics and entertainment were not separate things, that the line between the two was blurred almost to the point of irrelevance. An insightful, expertly written book."
      • premium: False
      • source: John W. Dean, CNN contributor and former Nixon White House Counsel
      • content: "Rock Me On The Water documents the high-octane storybook world of Los Angeles in 1974 with masterful intimacy and fearless cultural analysis. His well-rendered portraits of Jackson Browne, Linda Rondstadt, Joni Mitchell, David Geffen and other luminaries of the time are sublime. This is an extremely kinetic historical document, and a testament to Brownstein's lasting importance as both a fact-driven journalist and elegant prose-stylist. A must read!"
      • premium: False
      • source: Wolf Blitzer, anchor of The Situation Room, CNN
      • content: "What Brownstein has done is expertly knit the scenes together, giving the reader a plus-one invite to the heady world of Hollywood parties, jam sessions and pitch meetings, as well as a pointed demonstration of how culture can be made and unmade."
      • premium: False
      • source: Publishers Weekly
      • content: "One of the very best on 1974 — a hinge of cultural history for American TV, movies & music. All in his new book Rock Me on The Water."
      • premium: False
      • source: Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
      • content: "My friend and CNN colleague Ron Brownstein has written a terrific book. Rock Me on The Water tells the amazing story of 1974 and how it changed the U.S. If you're old enough to have lived through 1974, it will bring back memories. If you're too young, you will learn a lot."
      • premium: False
      • source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
      • content: "Timely and relevant."
      • premium: False
      • source: David Axelrod, Senior Political Commentator, CNN
      • content: "One of the sharpest analysts of American politics, Ron Brownstein in Rock Me on the Water offers a fresh, vivid and insightful look at how politics and popular culture intertwined to reshape American life at a moment of profound generational transition — LA in the early 1970s. It's an electric story filled with gripping personalities, compelling backstage histories, and a clear message for the divided America of today: the forces that fear change can win for a time, but in America the future always gets the last word. A lyrical recreation of a magical moment."
      • premium: False
      • source: Paul Begala, CNN contributor and former counselor to President Clinton
      • content: "An endlessly engaging cultural history that will resonate with anyone alive in 1974."
      • premium: False
      • source: Major Garrett, Chief Washington Correspondent, CBS News
      • content: "Excellent."
      • premium: False
      • source: Los Angeles Review of Books
      • content: "This is a terrific book about a pivot-point in US cultural history, which led to reshaping our political landscape. Ron Brownstein is a dadgum...
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        January 18, 2021
        CNN political analyst Brownstein (The Second Civil War) argues in this sweeping cultural history that L.A. in 1974 exerted more influence over music, movies, and television “than it ever had before, or would again.” Brownstein highlights Chinatown, Shampoo, and Nashville as examples of the edgier, more socially relevant films Hollywood made in the brief window between the collapse of the studio system and the rise of blockbusters. In music, the Eagles personified the “easy-riding, hard-partying soundtrack to Los Angeles’s golden hour,” Brownstein writes, while musicians such as Jackson Browne followed a circuitous path to success. Brownstein credits CBS for revolutionizing TV with shows (All in the Family, M*A*S*H, and The Mary Tyler Moore Show) that dealt with contemporary social issues and appealed to a wide demographic. Married couple Tom Hayden and Jane Fonda’s anti–Vietnam War activism and Jerry Brown’s rise to the governorship, meanwhile, illuminate the links between L.A.’s political and cultural scenes. Enriched by interviews with the period’s luminaries, including Warren Beatty and Linda Ronstadt, this astute and wide-ranging account shows how L.A. led the U.S. into an era when the 1960s counterculture became mainstream.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        January 15, 2021
        Atlantic senior editor Brownstein recounts the annus mirabilis that produced some of the most memorable songs, films, and TV shows in pop-culture history. In a book that neatly brackets William McKeen's Everybody Had an Ocean (2017), Brownstein conjures up the Los Angeles of 1974. It was a time of endless possibility, marked by countless highlights: Chinatown, Linda Ronstadt's album Heart Like a Wheel, the completion of the first draft of the screenplay that would give birth to the Star Wars franchise, and the political rise of former seminarian Jerry Brown. In TV, Norman Lear had cornered the market on socially conscious, sometimes controversial comedy, as when the lead character of Maude got pregnant at age 47 and got an abortion. "Though the city was not yet the liberal political bastion it would grow into," writes the author, "Los Angeles emerged as the capital of cultural opposition to Nixon." Some of this opposition was seemingly innocent: The Mary Tyler Moore Show was funny, but it advanced the thesis that women could work, live single lives, and be happy while Jackson Browne proved himself a pioneer of painful self-introspection. But that innocence is illusory. As Brownstein writes, 1974 also saw a tidal wave of cocaine wash over LA, the favorite party appetizer of the film set, the music crowd, and celebrities alike. Brownstein also takes in a wide swath of the world outside LA, from the denouement of the Patty Hearst kidnapping to the emergence of Tom Hayden and Jane Fonda as a political power couple. There's some nice dish, too, as when Carroll O'Connor demanded artistic control of All in the Family because the Jewish writers wouldn't understand the mind of a working-class Christian; and shrewd cultural analysis, as when Brownstein chronicles the transition by Browne and his contemporaries "from celebrating the freedom that revolution unlocked to tabulating its cost in impermanence and instability." An endlessly engaging cultural history that will resonate with anyone alive in 1974.

        COPYRIGHT(2021) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        March 1, 2021
        It's a bold claim: in one year, 1974, Los Angeles shaped America's popular culture more than ever before (or since). But Brownstein, a CNN political analyst and journalist, backs up his claim with evidence. The films Chinatown, The Godfather Part II, and The Conversation were all released in that year. Joni Mitchell released her now-classic album Court and Spark. On the small screen, CBS became a ratings powerhouse when it put several of its hit comedies (including All in the Family and M*A*S*H ) on a single night. And, in politics, Jerry Brown was elected governor of California--a young and ambitious politician who would bring in sweeping changes. These examples barely scratch the surface: the depth of this book is quite impressive. Brownstein knits together the threads of history to show that, for the first time in 1974, politics and entertainment were not separate things, that the line between the two was blurred almost to the point of irrelevance. An insightful, expertly written book.

        COPYRIGHT(2021) Booklist, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

subtitle
1974-The Year Los Angeles Transformed Movies, Music, Television, and Politics
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