American Decades Primary Sources: 1980-1989

  • Volume 9
  • Published By:
  • ISBN-10: 0787665967
  • ISBN-13: 9780787665968
  • DDC: 973.91
  • Shipping Weight: 5.20 lbs ( 2.36 kgs)
  • 784 Pages | Print | Hardcover
  • © 2004 | Published



The United States in the 1980s saw several firsts: for women, the media, medicine, and science. Sandra Day O'Connor became the first woman appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court, and Sally Ride became the first woman in space. CNN was established as the first 24-hour news station. AIDS was identified for the first time, and DNA was first used to convict criminals. The science community faced a stunning setback, however, with the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger, which had among its crew the first teacher to go into space. President Ronald Reagan's administration became mired for a time in the Iran-Contra affair, which involved a plan to provide arms to rebels in Nicaragua and free Americans held hostage by terrorists. Terrorists bombed the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, and the U.S. Army introduced its slogan "Be All You Can Be."

The following documents are just a sampling of the offerings available in this volume:

  • Excerpt from The House on Mango Street, by Sandra Cisneros
  • Memorandum on air traffic controllers strike
  • List of terms from Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know
  • Illustrations from The Official Preppy Handbook
  • Transcript from Challenger's operational recorder
  • "Be All That You Can Be," recruiting advertisement for the U.S. Army
  • Oral history of AIDS doctors
  • An interview with Hill Street Blues creator Stephen Bochco
  • In Memory of Her: A Feminist Theological Reconstruction of Christian Origins
  • Photograph of the eruption of Mount St. Helens
  • "Mitochondrial DNA and Human Evolution," journal article and graphics
  • Statement of Major League Baseball Commissioner Bart Giamatti banning Pete Rose from baseball



"This carefully crafted new offering from Gale is sure to be a worthy heir to the discontinued classic documentary American history reference source, The Annals of America (Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1968-1987),.. Gale's latest contribution to the field is intended to serve as a companion to their popular series, American Decades (Gale Group, 1994-2001) and would complement many of the publisher's other prominent reference works in American history, notably the two-volume stand-alone Gale Encyclopedia of Multicultural America: Primary Documents (see ARBA 2001, entry 271). This work will also make an ideal companion set for the many libraries that already own The Annals, as this new work offers limited coverage, its entries usually provide essays about and excerpts from primary sources rather than the full text of the sources themselves, it is more comprehensive, and despite some inevitable overlap, its selections are generally different...American Decades: Primary Sources is certain to become the centerpiece of many serious American history reference collections. This new work is so innovative and well done that it may become a classic itself, and at its advertised price of less than $100 for each sturdy, well-designed volume, well worth the investment." --ARBA (2004)


"Aimed at the high-school and undergraduate levels, but definitely accessible to middle-schoolers, this set is a treasure trove of more than 2,000 primary sources on U.S. history and culture represented by more than 75 types of sources, such as architectural drawings, graphs, letters, magazine articles, memoirs, reports, Supreme Court decisions, speeches, and literary works. This resource is excellent as a companion to the American Decades (Gale, 1996-2000) set or as a stand-alone. Even if a library had access to all of the books, periodicals, and other items used as sources, they would lack the surrounding context and the added features, not to mention the convenience. Secondary school libraries in states with curriculum standards that require access to primary resources should place this on their priority purchase lists if they can afford it. Undergraduate and public libraries supporting historical research should also consider purchase."--Booklist (April 2004)

— Booklist

"This set provides access to information that will be difficult to find in other places without a great deal of weeding. It can begin the student thinking critically about events in history. Your students need access to this set, especially if you have American Decades."--Reference for Students ( (May 2004)

— Online