DESTRUCTIVE GENERATION: Second Thoughts About the  by Peter Collier

DESTRUCTIVE GENERATION: Second Thoughts About the

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Best known as biographers of wealthy American families (The Rockefellers, The Kennedys, The Fords), Collier and Horowitz are also former New Leftists who once edited the Movement's standard-bearer, Ramparts magazine. The same sort of opportunism that led them to oust that magazine's previous editor now finds them trashing the decade they once helped to define: the Sixties. But readers expecting a sustained conservative critique of those parlous times will have to wait for scholarly studies that measure up to the high standards of left-inspired books by Jim Miller (Democracy Is In the Streets) and Maurice Isserman (If I Had a Hammer). At most, Collier and Horowitz equal Todd Gitlin's The Sixties for its indecent display of self-importance. In fact, their fellow Berkeleyite Gitlin here joins company with Noam Chomsky ("the Dr. Demento of American political commentary") and Tom Hayden as architects of the new popular front in progressive thought--a generation nurtured in the Sixties whose present goal is nothing less than the destruction of America, or so Collier and Horowitz would have it. For the most part, this collection of essays, almost all previously published, suffers from the same spurious methods of their dynastic biographies. The most damning quotations are unattributed; many sources are conveniently anonymous; and their narrative style reads as smoothly as fiction--but only because it doesn't worry too much about empirical evidence. As in their family sagas, these self-styled former radicals manage to emphasize the most lurid details: Biographical accounts of radical lawyer Fay Stendar, of members of the Weather underground, and of two Viet vets all feature violent blacks who betray and abuse their white friends. Amazingly enough, the next three polemics also focus on blacks as part of the new "fifth column" of anti-Americanism (Congressman Ron Dellums from Berkeley), as part of those protected by a putative fear of McCarthyism (Congressman George Crockett), and as the mismanagers of the city of Berkeley (Mayor Gus Newport). When Collier and Horowitz separate for autobiographical chapters, they continue to subject their former comrades, not themselves, to, the harshest criticism. Neoconservative boilerplate by New Left apostates.

Pub Date: March 22nd, 1989
ISBN: 671-66752-5
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
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