Fourteen authors, including Omar Figueras, Lenore Look, and editors Aronson and Bartoletti, write about the tumultuous events of 1968.
On the 50th anniversary of the year that saw the continuation of the war in Vietnam, the deaths of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy, and riots in Paris, Prague, and Chicago, some writers recollect their childhoods while others tackle events that occurred before they were born. Biracial (black/white) author Kekla Magoon writes of King’s and Kennedy’s deaths from the perspective of the black community, describing the Black Panthers’ community service programs and discussing why the Students for a Democratic Society, an anti-war protest organization run by privileged white college students, did not represent black interests. Laban Carrick Hill, who grew up in an abusive white family in Memphis, remembers how even at age 7 his uncle’s racist response the day after King’s assassination made him start to question his family’s credibility since he knew firsthand what real violence was. Other chapters tell of African-American athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos’ protest at the Mexico City Olympics and their support from white Australian Peter Norman; the Chinese Cultural Revolution; the beginning of the end of Communism; and the origins of the computer age. The book’s strength lies in the way different voices and different angles come together into an integrated whole.
Fascinating and accomplished. (author’s notes, source notes, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 12-18)