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Non-Fiction Review – Travel Back in the Day to 1972

Travel Back in the Day to 1972 by David and Lauren Benson

Review by jjares

The information, especially the photos, takes the reader back down memory lane to 1972. There’s a little for everyone, from world events to fashion trends, music, and beyond. A loaf of bread cost 27 cents, while a gallon of gas was 36 cents. The average home cost was $27,600, and the average price of a car was $3,879. The minimum wage was $1.60/hour, while the average income was $11,116/year.

Of the 1.7 million couples in the US who tied the knot in this year, many couples shared their first dance to Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together” or “Lean on Me” by Bill Withers.  Also, three million three hundred thousand babies were born in 1972. Favorite male names were Michael and Christopher. Jennifer and Michelle were the hot female names for babies.

The information on vacations blew me away. Disney World opened in October 1971, and 400,000 visitors enjoyed the Magic Kingdom by the following year. Tickets were $3.75, and rides were extra. However, a family of four could ride and eat for $10 per person. Today, that cost is $100 per person. Another way to travel that became popular at this time was the RV (recreational vehicle). Winnebago and Airstream were popular brands.

Integration was a new phenomenon in education, along with English as a Second Language and classes for the disabled. In 1972, the high school graduation rate was 75% (today, it is around 86%). In 1973, 1.5 million students were in college. Today, the enrollment is about 19 million.

Many pages (and photos) are about the college protests against the Vietnam War, the hippie movement, and the emerging interest in drugs. Then, of course, Nixon and the Watergate Scandal are mentioned. On a more positive note, the moon landings were highlighted. The Olympics occurred in 1972. Finally, the tragedy of the Black September group killing Israeli Olympic team members is mentioned, along with comparing gold, silver, and bronze medal winners in the most successful countries.

I remember the Hewlett-Packard pocket scientific calculator. We bought one of the first available in 1972, I remember it cost an astronomical price of $135.You can find one that does more (than the 1972 scientific model) for about $20. The same year, Polaroid released the SX-70 model. It developed a photo in less than 10 minutes.

The 1970s brought color and new fabrics to the fashion world. Polyester was developed by NASA and hit the clothing market hard. The phrase “groovy psychedelic” describes the clothes of this era, complete with bell-bottom trousers, high-waisted pants, going braless, and oversized glasses.

The top television shows for 1972 were “All in the Family” and “Sanford and Sons.” The biggest movie was “The Godfather.” Roberta Flack had the biggest tune of the year, “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face.” Roberta and her music were introduced to moviegoers in “Play Misty for Me.” The photo of David Bowie in the Ziggy Stardust Tour is mind-bending.

This book is pure nostalgia. Readers can spend a couple of hours reminiscing about their old toys (now worth a mint), clothes, and pastimes. There is something for everyone. Enjoy. Overall score = G+.



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