THE YEAR THE DREAM DIED by Jules Witcover

THE YEAR THE DREAM DIED

Revisiting 1968 in America
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

 An overblown snapshot of a tumultuous year. Witcover (Crapshoot: Rolling the Dice on the Vice Presidency, 1992, etc.), a nationally syndicated political columnist for the Baltimore Sun, draws on reminiscences by Al Gore, John Ehrlichman, Allard Lowenstein, and George McGovern, among others, to chronicle the year in which ``the dream'' gave up the ghost. Which dream is unclear: Robert Kennedy's? Martin Luther King's? Richard Nixon's? Curtis LeMay's? Witcover's account is shot through with a lack of clarity, and the author seems mostly content to recall the days of tear gas and free love with tired (and often ungrammatical) truisms: ``Through the medium of television that was a babysitter for many of them through their formative years, these young Americans saw the Vietnam War up close and they despised it''; ``The names [of rock groups] alone, aside from the music often so discordant and confusing to older ears, drew a distinct generational line between the now generation and its parents.'' Witcover's narrative acquires depth only when he recalls his own experiences as a reporter, reliving the good old days of seemingly unlimited expense accounts and one-on-one interviews with the politicos of the day, most notably a carefully suntanned Nixon. Had Witcover written his book as a reporter's memoir of events he himself covered, it would surely have been to better result than this exercise in pop history, which closes with silly speculations on, for instance, what might have happened had Robert Kennedy lived to run against Nixon. As an overview of 1968, several books, notably Stephen Spender's The Year of the Young Rebels and Todd Gitlin's The Sixties, cover the same ground, and much better.

Pub Date: June 18th, 1997
ISBN: 0-446-51849-2
Page count: 560pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 1997




MORE BY JULES WITCOVER

NonfictionTHE AMERICAN VICE PRESIDENCY by Jules Witcover
by Jules Witcover
NonfictionTHE MAKING OF AN INK-STAINED WRETCH by Jules Witcover
by Jules Witcover
NonfictionPARTY OF THE PEOPLE by Jules Witcover
by Jules Witcover

SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

NonfictionTHE EVE OF DESTRUCTION by James T. Patterson
by James T. Patterson