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'A Sharp, Dizzying History Lesson That Packs a Punch'

01/31/2011 12:33 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

I'm about seven weeks away from the launch of my third book, which is entitled BACK TO OUR FUTURE: How the 1980s Explain the World We Live In Now.. This is usually the time I start freaking out and fearing for the worst. But in the last week, the book has gotten a huge boost from the publishing industry's three premiere pre-publication review magazines.

The first came from Kirkus Reviews (which, incidentally, slammed my last book). Here's an excerpt of their review:

Born in 1975 and a proud child of the '80s, In These Times senior editor and nationally syndicated newspaper columnist Sirota ponders what it means when America has suddenly started "speaking the ancient 1980s dialect of my youth."...The scope of the author's period knowledge is indisputable, and he parlays his experience as a Democratic strategist into politically charged discussions about the anti-governmental preaching on The A-Team, Ronald Reagan's questionable approach to Vietnam veterans and the bulletproof vigor of movies like Rambo, Red Dawn and Top Gun. While applauding the morale-boosting heft of Nike's 1988 "Just Do It" campaign, Sirota evenhandedly criticizes today's reality-TV-obsessed, attention-starved Facebook generation for its self-centeredness as something "the 1980s did to us, and what the 1980s mentally makes us want to be."...Maybe most important is Sirota's chapters on the impact The Cosby Show and others like it had on '80s black America and, now, on Obama's "postracial" image.

A sharp, dizzying history lesson that packs a punch.

Then, at the end of last week, Book Forum published a review saying this:

"Sirota has picked through the decade's cultural detritus to reconstruct the scene of a generation's ideological poisoning...In Sirota's telling, this transformation was a group effort, with much of the credit going to Rambo, Rocky, "Dirty Harry' Callahan, the A-Team, Michael Jordan, Alex Keaton, Crockett and Tubbs, Murtaugh and Riggs, Maverick and Goose, Charles Barkley, the insipid yuppies of Thirtysomething, and Hulk Hogan and Sergeant Slaguther...

He tells the tale with wit and subtlety - stressing (the) way that adept mythmaking, wedded to new media technologies, exerted a strong pull on his mind and those of others who feasted on '80s pop culture, and in the process transformed (the) nation."

And now this from Publishers Weekly this morning:

Sirota (The Uprising) ushers readers back to the era of big money and bigger hair, the yuppie and the Gipper to show how the 1980s transformed--and continues to influence--America's culture and politics. As Carter's presidency began to crumble in 1978, a revival of back-to-the-'50s theater, television, and film productions (Grease, Happy Days, La Bamba) overtook grittier 1960s imagery of "urbanity, ethnicity and strife" and came to define the Reagan era in a country eager to forget--or unwilling to learn from--the failure of Vietnam...His arguments are well informed and sparkle with wit and irreverence.

Obviously, I'm pretty psyched that the early reviews are so positive. Writing is an incredibly tough way to make a living, and it can be really demoralizing - so this is a really big psychological boost. And I hope after reading those reviews you will pre-ordering the book. If you like my work, are interested in the 1980s and the decade's relevance today, please consider it!