TURNING POINT: 1968 by Irwin & Debi Unger Unger


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Yet another book about 1968, this a particularly strong one by a Pulitzer-winning historian (The Greenback Era, 1984) and his journalist wife. In 1968, the Ungers write, ""the Western world. . .seemed on the verge of disintegration."" Incivility reigned on both sides of the political spectrum, from Eldridge Cleaver's prouncement that ""America will be painted red. Dead bodies will litter the streets"" to George Wallace's promise to run over demonstrators who lay in front of his car. The Ungers bring back all those memories in an entertaining manner with just the right blend of journalistic attention to detail and historical depth. But what makes this an important work is the authors' unimpeachable conclusion that--while on the surface all was liberalism and liberation in 1968--the year actually marked a turning point as ""The year that the liberal consensus of the early Sixties fell apart and was replaced by rancorous resistance to further social change."" The Ungers suggest that without the violent and disruptive deeds of that year, Reagan and conservatism would have remained on the fringes of power. All who lived through that trying time and those who were too young to know it but are curious nonetheless should enjoy this lengthy informed exposition of a crucial year in our modern history.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1988
Publisher: Scribners