People like Bingham (b. 1963), who “missed the party,” may be astonished by aspects of this tumultuous story. Baby boomers...

WITNESS TO THE REVOLUTION

RADICALS, RESISTERS, VETS, HIPPIES, AND THE YEAR AMERICA LOST ITS MIND AND FOUND ITS SOUL

An engrossing oral history of the youth rebellion of the 1960s.

Former Newsweek White House correspondent Bingham (Class Action: The Story of Lois Jenson and the Landmark Case that Changed Sexual Harassment Law, 2002, etc.) interviewed some 100 activists, veterans, government officials, and others—all now in their 60s and 70s—to produce this remarkable account of the anti-war movement. “The cross-pollination of left-wing activists with hippie drifters and dropouts, who were all part of the same Great Refusal to conform, created a brand new rebel,” she writes. With a focus on the year 1969-1970—the “crescendo of the sixties, when years of civil disobedience and mass resistance erupted into anarchic violence”—Bingham captures telling moments (from campus protests to bombings, from Woodstock to My Lai) in the voices of those present. There are revealing stories about Weathermen on the lam, government sabotage and surveillance, courtroom theatrics, police riots, President Richard Nixon’s late-night meeting with protesters at the Lincoln Memorial, the Pentagon Papers, and the incessant organizing behind events that “would profoundly and permanently change the nation.” The cast is a who’s who of the ’60s: Daniel Ellsberg, Jane Fonda, Julius Lester, and others, from undercover FBI agents to rock musicians, most of whom offer sharp insights into the period. After all these years, many echo an LSD dealer’s comments: “We were young and naïve, and drunk on idealism.” “We were so arrogant,” says Weatherman Mark Rudd. Most share feminist Robin Morgan’s observation that in the civil rights and peace movements, “the human spirit was really at its best.” Weathermen founder Bill Ayers says he will apologize for his actions when Henry Kissinger says “what he did that was wrong, because he killed three million people, and I killed no one.”

People like Bingham (b. 1963), who “missed the party,” may be astonished by aspects of this tumultuous story. Baby boomers will find themselves infuriated once again by vivid accounts of the My Lai massacre, the Kent State and Jackson State shootings, and other tumultuous events.

Pub Date: June 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8129-9318-9

Page Count: 656

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: April 7, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2016

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

GOOD ECONOMICS FOR HARD TIMES

“Quality of life means more than just consumption”: Two MIT economists urge that a smarter, more politically aware economics be brought to bear on social issues.

It’s no secret, write Banerjee and Duflo (co-authors: Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way To Fight Global Poverty, 2011), that “we seem to have fallen on hard times.” Immigration, trade, inequality, and taxation problems present themselves daily, and they seem to be intractable. Economics can be put to use in figuring out these big-issue questions. Data can be adduced, for example, to answer the question of whether immigration tends to suppress wages. The answer: “There is no evidence low-skilled migration to rich countries drives wage and employment down for the natives.” In fact, it opens up opportunities for those natives by freeing them to look for better work. The problem becomes thornier when it comes to the matter of free trade; as the authors observe, “left-behind people live in left-behind places,” which explains why regional poverty descended on Appalachia when so many manufacturing jobs left for China in the age of globalism, leaving behind not just left-behind people but also people ripe for exploitation by nationalist politicians. The authors add, interestingly, that the same thing occurred in parts of Germany, Spain, and Norway that fell victim to the “China shock.” In what they call a “slightly technical aside,” they build a case for addressing trade issues not with trade wars but with consumption taxes: “It makes no sense to ask agricultural workers to lose their jobs just so steelworkers can keep theirs, which is what tariffs accomplish.” Policymakers might want to consider such counsel, especially when it is coupled with the observation that free trade benefits workers in poor countries but punishes workers in rich ones.

Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-61039-950-0

Page Count: 432

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: Aug. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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