America Divided: The Civil War of the 1960s

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9780195160475: America Divided: The Civil War of the 1960s

America Divided: The Civil War of the 1960s, 2/e, is the definitive interpretive survey of the political, social, and cultural history of 1960s America. Written by two top experts on the era--Maurice Isserman, a scholar of the Left, and Michael Kazin, a specialist in Right-wing politics and culture--this book provides a compelling tale of this tumultuous era filled with fresh and persuasive insights.
In this revised edition, Isserman and Kazin draw upon the latest scholarship to offer new insights into the Vietnam War, youth culture, and the lasting impact of the 1960s on American politics, culture, and society. They cover such important events as the Cuban Missile Crisis and Operation Rolling Thunder; the rise of Motown, Bob Dylan, and the Beatles; and the role played by organizations ranging from the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee to the Campus Crusade for Christ. Isserman and Kazin also shed some much-needed light on the era's often overlooked rise of the New Right and its far-reaching implications, which not only offer a critical dimension to the understanding of this period, but to the future of America as well. America Divided, 2/e, defines, discusses, and analyzes all sides of the political, social, and cultural conflicts of the 1960s in a swiftly moving narrative. It is ideal for courses in 1960s America and America since 1945.

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About the Author:

Maurice Isserman is at Hamilton College. Michael Kazin is at Georgetown University.

From Kirkus Reviews:

A thoroughly detailed, well-written history of the tumultuous recent past. Historians Isserman (Hamilton College; If I Had a Hammer, 1987) and Kazin (Georgetown Univ.; The Populist Persuasion) take a past-is-a-foreign-country approach to the events of the 1960s. Survivors of the time might get a chuckle at some of the data the authors see the need to explain: The most common drug in the `60s was marijuana, nearly as ubiquitous in youth communities as was bottled beer everywhere else in America. Motown became renowned for its tight orchestrations and catchy lyrics. Martin Luther King Jr. occupied a unique place in American political life. But veterans of the era are evidently not the principal audience for this book, which seems intended for graduate students in American history. They are well served by the authors, who rigorously defend their view that the `60s were in fact a time of civil war, and not merely civil disobedience: The body count in Vietnam and in Americas inner cities, they suggest, are argument enough. This war had its origins in the 1950s, they observe, in a time when a golden age of post-WWII prosperity ran counter to an escalating Cold War, which cost a fortune and led to the economic dislocations and spiraling inflation of the succeeding decade. One campaign in that war, centering on civil rights for ethnic minorities, began a decade earlier in such acts as Lt. Jackie Robinsons refusal in 1944 to sit at the back of a crowded bus. (Robinson would face a court-martial for his act of civil disobedience, and would soon thereafter break the color barrier in major-league baseball.) Yet a third front would open when a substantial number of young Americans rejected the values of their elders and the bankrupt promises of Presidents Johnson and Nixon. All combined, the authors write, to lead America to a period of unwonted civil violence. Isserman, a specialist in leftist politics, and Kazin, a student of modern conservativism, make a solid tag team. Their thoroughgoing research and vivid writing make this a book of interest to students and general readers alike. (45 photos, not seen) -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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