The Movement and The Sixties

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9780195074093: The Movement and The Sixties

It began in 1960 with the Greensboro sit-ins. By 1973, when a few Native Americans rebelled at Wounded Knee and the U.S. Army came home from Vietnam, it was over. In between came Freedom Rides, Port Huron, the Mississippi Summer, Berkeley, Selma, Vietnam, the Summer of Love, Black Power, the Chicago Convention, hippies, Brown Power, and Women's Liberation--The Movement--in an era that became known as The Sixties. Why did millions of Americans become activists; why did they take to the streets?

These are questions Terry Anderson explores in The Movement and The Sixties, a searching history of the social activism that defined a generation of young Americans and that called into question the very nature of "America." Drawing on interviews, "underground" manuscripts colleceted at campuses and archives throughout the nation, and many popular accounts, Anderson begins with Greensboro and reveals how one event built upon another and exploded into the kaleidoscope of activism by the early 1970s. Civil rights, student power, and the crusade against the Vietnam War composed the first wave of the movement, and during and after the rip tides of 1968, the movement changed and expanded, flowing into new currents of counterculture, minority empowerment, and women's liberation. The parades of protesters, along with schocking events--from the Kennedy assassination to My Lai--encouraged other citizens to question their nation. Was America racist, imperialist, sexist?

Unlike other books on this tumultuous decade, The Movement and The Sixties is neither a personal memoir, nor a treatise on New Left ideology, nor a chronicle of the so-called leaders of the movement. Instead, it is a national history, a compelling and fascinating account of a defining era that remains a significant part of our lives today.

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"We were young, we were reckless, arrogant, silly, headstrong--and we were right. I regret nothing!" So spoke Abbie Hoffman, recalling the '60s 20 years later. Anderson memorializes Hoffman's words, along with quotations from rock lyrics, SDS slogans, and official pronouncements from the likes of Spiro Agnew, Richard Daley, and George Wallace. He tracks the boomer generation's progress from the civil rights and free speech movements to, after the murders of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy, what approached civil war. He does so with passion, arguing that the kids were right to protest a national policy that enriched Wernher von Braun, the Nazi rocket scientist and war criminal, while imprisoning conscientious objectors for refusing to fight in Vietnam. Anderson's masterful treatment brings those difficult times to life.

About the Author:


About the author:

Terry Anderson, a Vietnam veteran, is a Professor of History at Texas A&M University, and also has taught in Malaysia, Japan, and has received a Fulbright to China. He has written many articles on the 1960s and on the Vietnam War, and is the author of The United States, Great Britain and the Cold War, 1944-1947, and the co-author of A Flying Tiger's Diary (with fighter pilot Charles Bond, Jr.).

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