WALKING ON THE EDGE OF THE WORLD by George Leonard

WALKING ON THE EDGE OF THE WORLD

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KIRKUS REVIEW

An insider's look at the 1960's, written by a Look magazine reporter whose articles on the civil-rights movement, education, life-styles and the Cold War helped shaped the decade's attitudes. Leonard (Education and Ecstasy, 1968; The Ultimate Athlete, 1975) recalls the events of those turbulent years with telling images of the riots attending James Meredith's enrollment at the Univ. of Mississippi; of the famed march on Selma, Alabama; of the student riots at Berkeley. In covering these stories, Leonard encountered such figures as Martin Luther King, Jr:, Robert Kennedy, and Ralph Abernathy. The portraits he draws of them are moving and often unexpectedly offbeat. The author detected a certain ""vulnerability"" in Kennedy, for example, but Leonard is interested in more than merely presenting a historical overview of the period. Paralleling the history is the story of his personal search for identity. It is in these pages that Leonard most successfully encapsulates the spirit of the time. After meeting with Mike Murphy, the founder of the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, Leonard becomes more and more involved with the Human Potential Movement. There are interviews with Aldous Huxley, B.F. Skinner, Marshall McLuhan, and other gurus of the period. There are also experiments with LSD, some encounter groups that ended in understanding and others that ended in farce, drug-overdose deaths and disco nights. For those who lived through the period Leonard describes so skillfully, this will be a trip back in time. For those unfamiliar with those years, Leonard proves a reliable and entertaining guide.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1988
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin