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AMERICA DREAMING by Laban Carrick Hill


How Youth Changed America in the ’60s

by Laban Carrick Hill

Age Range: 12 - 14

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-316-00904-1
Publisher: Little, Brown

Hill follows up his Harlem Stomp (2004) with an equally ambitious (and lavishly laid out) social history of the Boomers’ finest decade: “Wilder than Gen X, more activist than Gen Y, these youths changed their world like no other generation has before or since.” Though rightly noting at the outset that the noisier members of that generation were never more than a minority, he constructs his central narrative around their exploits. He opens with chapters on the ’50s and JFK, closing with the grassroots expansion of the environmental movement, but in between shows a pattern of growth and radicalization in the Civil Rights movement, in campus and hippie cultures, and in the efforts of women, Native Americans, Latinos and gays to define and assert their rights. Period photos and splashes of color add visual interest to every page, though used more as design than informational elements. Some minor errors have crept in (it’s Maynard G. Krebs, not “Grebs”), and the author’s claim that the SCLC’s Project C was deliberately intended “to provoke segregationists into violent acts” is, to say the least, controversial. But in general he offers a coherent, big-picture view that will give young readers plenty of insight into the roots of their own cultures. (timeline, resource lists) (Nonfiction. 12-14)