THE MOVEMENT AND THE SIXTIES by Terry H. Anderson

THE MOVEMENT AND THE SIXTIES

Protest in America from Greensboro to Wounded Knee

KIRKUS REVIEW

 Hundreds of voices resound in this thoroughgoing analysis of '60s radicalism. ``If people demonstrate in a manner to interfere with others, they should be rounded up and put in a detention camp,'' argues Deputy Attorney General Richard Kleindienst in 1972. Abbie Hoffman, speaking shortly before his suicide in 1989, gleefully proclaims, ``We were young, we were reckless, arrogant, silly, headstrong--and we were right. I regret nothing!'' Novelist Philip Caputo recalls that in his worldview John F. Kennedy was a modern King Arthur, the officers of the Army his knights, and Vietnam the new Crusade. Rock lyrics, SDS slogans, and official pronouncements from the likes of Spiro Agnew, Richard Daley, and George Wallace also abound. But Anderson (History/Texas A&M Univ.; The United States, Great Britain, and the Cold War, not reviewed) brings order to the period's chaos in his rigorous account of the intellectual origins of modern dissent, tracing the baby-boom generation's involvement with the civil-rights and free-speech movements as the proving ground for what, after the murders of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy, would very nearly become civil war. The author skewers a system that sent so many impoverished minority youngsters to Southeast Asia (``of the 30,000 male graduates from Harvard, Princeton, and MIT in the decade following 1962, only 20 died in Vietnam'') and condemns a national ethos that idolized Nazi rocket scientist Wernher von Braun while imprisoning conscientious objectors. Clearly, for him the '60s are very much alive, and his passionate remembrance galvanizes the book. However, it suffers from occasional but annoying errors. Anderson misdates songs and truncates and mistransposes lyrics; he implies that musicians Mama Cass Elliot and Keith Moon died of drug overdoses (in fact, both suffered heart attacks); he places Fort Bliss (Texas) in New Jersey. Despite these lapses, a highly accessible survey that should be the standard for years to come.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-19-507409-2
Page count: 544pp
Publisher: Oxford Univ.
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 1995




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