The Eighties Club
The Politics and Pop Culture of the 1980s
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Material Things
An Encyclopedia of the 1980's
This page is your gateway to the most comprehensive online "encyclopedia" about the 1980s. It consists of scrupulously researched and entertainingly written essays, complete with photos and "postscripts" about everything from politics to sports, crime to culture, economic issues to natural disasters. Just take a look at the CONTENTS page (link below) and you'll get an idea what MATERIAL THINGS is all about. (And you can access all available sets from that page, too.) It's perfect for students, teachers, and anyone who is interested in one of the most important decades in American history.

Using Material Things
This online encyclopedia is absolutely free, but I reserve all rights, and the essays are copyrighted.
If you use an essay for reference in, say, a research paper, I ask only that you give credit where credit is due.

A bibliographic reference to a particular Material Things essay might look like this:

"A Weekend to Remember," Jason Manning, Material Things (The Eighties Club:, 2000)
Manning, Jason. "A Weekend to Remember," Material Things (The Eighties Club: eightiesclub., 2000)

The little girl from Maine who desires world peace is cast into a maze of Cold War politics.
How Dallas and Dynasty rule primetime television in the 1980s.
Rumors surround the mysterious murder of Vicki Morgan, and some involve the White House.
During a fateful few days in 1983, 241 Marines lose their lives in Beirut, and American troops invade Grenada.
The story of the American auto industry's fight for survival as imported cars become ever more popular.
How E.T. and other blockbuster films restore the luster to Hollywood in the 1980s.
A scandal early in Ronald Reagan's first term has some questioning the president's integrity.
Examines the phenomenal success and power of televangelists -- and how some fall from glory.
Though relatively few in number, the Yuppies have a lasting impact on American society.
The triumphs and travails of the maverick American automaker.
The daring 1980 attempt to rescue American hostages held in Iran.
Product tampering in the Chicago area leads to seven deaths and terrifies the entire nation.
Reviews the meteoric careers of a group of young actors who take Hollywood by storm in the 1980s.
A look at the crisis on the American farm in the Eighties, and how some celebrities try to help.
A terrifying example of the many terrorist acts that took place during the decade.
The story of Baby Fae is also the story of the amazing medical advances that occur in the 1980s.
A tale of high adventure beneath the sea, and one of the most exciting finds of the decade.
A meltdown at the Russian power plant causes many to question the world's growing reliance on nuclear energy.
The Statue of Liberty is refurbished in time for the spectacular 1986 Fourth of July festivities in New York City.
The air traffic controllers force a showdown with the Reagan White House in 1981.
Reviews the rise and fall of Ivan Boesky and Michael Milkin.
She erupts in 1980, and it's one of the worst volcanic disasters in American history.
Examines how the music video changes forever the way we look at music.
The court-ordered breakup of AT&T has a lasting effect on the American telecommunications industry.
Bernhard Goetz becomes the focus of a national debate on crime when he takes the law into his own hands.
It is one of the decade's most ambitious charity extravaganzas, but how much good does it really do?
In 1986 the U.S. conducts a raid on Libya to quell a rising tide of terrorism.
Examines the fitness craze that swept America in the 1980s.
A vicious crime that never happened, and American race relations reach a low point.
Relates the events surrounding the attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan in March, 1981.
An oil tanker runs aground off Alaska, causing one of the worst ecological disasters in American history.
The American hockey team pulls off a miracle at the 1980 Winter Olympics.
Great Britain and Argentina clash over islands in the South Atlantic, and the U.S. is caught in the middle.
Reagan's choice of Robert Bork to sit on the Supreme Court triggers a battle in America's culture wars.
A new killer disease leads to a contagion of fear and loathing in America during the Eighties.
A city in Iceland becomes the setting for one of the most remarkable superpower summits of the Cold War.
A sex scandal destroys Gary Hart's bid for the presidency in 1987.
A workers' movement challenges Communist hegemony in Poland and sends shockwaves around the world.
In the 1980s, computers begin to revolutionize the way we live.
The murders of two dozen black children result in a massive crime investigation.
The Reagan administration supports Nicaraguan rebels as part of its effort to fight Communist expansion.
Record-breaking hurricanes, droughts and tornados batter the U.S. during the 1980s.
Examines the cause and effects of the single worst day in Wall Street history: October 19, 1987.
Democratic presidential candidate Walter Mondale makes history by picking a woman to be his running mate in 1984.
A Cold War crisis erupts when the Soviets shoot down a Korean airliner.
Authorities wage a decade-long campaign against the scourge of cocaine.
American support for rebels who resist the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan takes many forms.
Hits like Cats and A Chorus Line make the 1980s good years for Broadway.
Trivial Pursuit and Rubik's Cube are just some of the games people play in the Eighties.
Foreign competition and a changing economy makes life harder for those in America's industrial heartland.
A historic presidential visit to the USSR in 1988 is a harbinger of the Cold War's end.
Lady Di and the heir to the British throne are married in the wedding of the decade.
Celebrities like John Belushi and Richard Pryor learn that life in the fast lane can lead to tragedy.
The apartheid policies of South Africa trigger worldwide condemnation.
Glamorous and sexy, and sometimes gaudy and rad, fashion in the 1980s was certainly distinctive.
A routine diplomatic visit to a German military cemetery creates a political crisis for President Reagan.
The plight of displaced persons grabs America's attention in the 1980s
The United States and Iran fight an undeclared naval war in the Persian Gulf.
The explosive Connors-McEnroe rivalry enlivens pro tennis in the early '80s.
The presidential campaign of 1988 ushered in a new era of dirty politics.

Here's what a few others have said about the Eighties:
"The eighties were the most important years since World War II."
Haynes Johnson

"The 1980s have been years in which Americans have had the sharp sensation of morning -- freshness and sobriety and a second chance."
George F. Will

"The eighties are of contemporary interest for their abundant legacy, which continues to inform the most vexing domestic issues of the nation."
Gilbert T. Sewall

"The worst years of our lives."
Barbara Ehrenreich