THE BEGINNING: BERKELEY 1964 by Max Heirich

THE BEGINNING: BERKELEY 1964

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The anatomy of a campus rebellion -- the Berkeley Free Speech Movement (FSM) -- the most thorough leaflet-by-leaflet, sit-in-by-sit-in account of its rise and fall yet published. Author Heirich, at the time a graduate student in sociology on the Berkeley campus, has attempted a structural analysis of ""conflict encounters"" utilizing memos, interviews, and on the spot tape recordings featuring all combatants. The emphasis is on organizational trends rather than individual heroes and villains or the zeitgeist of student alienation. Heirich attributes the combustibility of Berkeley to long-range shifts in the composition of the student body, particularly the increase of apartment dwellers versus dorm residents (""Apartment dwellers majoring in the humanities or the social sciences were twice as likely to have liberal or radical political preferences""); to ""the erosion of natural communications links between students and senior faculty""; and even to the quirks of campus architecture which placed the social science quad next to Bancroft-Telegraph. The basic dynamic of the conflagration was a series of ""authority crises"" shifting to progressively higher levels of decision-making during which an ever ""wider range of university relationships came under surveillance."" Heirich does not have to condemn the administration whose organizational procedures could not keep up with the changing focus of controversy -- his sources do it for him. Throughout Strong, Kerr & Co. lag one step behind, responding to yesterday's issues, treating, in the words of one student, FSM as a ""problem of disobedience"" long after the basic authority relationships of the university had been called into question. A valuable supplement to two more partisan accounts, Seymour Lipsit and S. S. Wolin, Eds., Berkeley Student Revolt (1965) and Michael V. Miller and S. Gilmore, Eds., Revolution at Berkeley (1965).

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1970
Publisher: Columbia University Press