The 1970s saw end of the Vietnam War, the dawn of disco, the first commercially available microwave oven, the energy crisis, and the election of Margaret Thatcher. It was a decade of contradictions and nowhere was that more evident than in the world of books. From The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison's profound 1970 debut, right through to the New Journalism of Tom Wolfe's The Right Stuff in 1979, the'70s produced some of the 20th century's most compelling literature.

It was also the decade of the blockbuster bestseller. Peter Benchley's Jaws emptied beaches and The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty inspired a global insomnia epidemic, while the more faint of heart became engrossed in sudsy sagas like The Thornbirds by Colleen McCullogh and Judith Krantz's Scruples.

Several authors who would go on to become household names made their debuts in the '70s, including Don DeLillo (1971), Stephen King (1974), and Anne Rice (1976).

Find new favorites and rediscover old friends on our list of the decade's most collectible and spectacular first editions.