COLLEGE DAYS IN EARTHQUAKE COUNTRY by Leo & Herbert Wilner Litwak

COLLEGE DAYS IN EARTHQUAKE COUNTRY

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Two San Francisco State faculty members reflect on their shattered academic haven and their own faltering identities as they confront Cleaver, the Black Student Union, SDS, Hayakawa, and the cops during the 1968 conflagrations which turned SFS into a battlefield. Dismayed and apprehensive that ""the fights I had chosen for years not to fight were choosing me,"" Litwak-Wilner were moderately sympathetic to the demands of the blacks; they took part in the faculty strike which lasted eight weeks and accomplished nothing. Low-keyed and melancholy, they measure the cost of leaving the archives for the picket line, there to be swept up in ""this mutinous flood of passion spilling out of students"" who seemed to know -- better than the profs -- that power, not moral persuasion, would determine the outcome. Power of course resided in Sacramento where Reagan, ""the standard-bearer of a mythic America,"" made and unmade presidents (cf. John Summerskill's President Seven, p. 45) until the advent of Hayakawa who wanted to distribute blue ribbons to the joe college silent majority and bring Mahalia Jackson on to soothe enraged blacks. The book is an interesting barometer of faculty fears, resentments, and general woolly-headedness although some of the skirmishes with students (""Racist pig! Fascist! Slave master! Did they, for instance, mean me?"") are recounted with a naivete that borders on the disingenuous.

Pub Date: Feb. 2nd, 1971
Publisher: Random House