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Battleground Chicago: The Police and the 1968 Democratic National Convention

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 1, 2004

    Taking it to the streets

    I was a pretty young guy in 1968 but I remember well the images from television, the violence and the cops beating the antiwar people. Well, I thought I knew it well, before this book. The author took me on a blow by blow account to the streets and really brings the convention week of that summer alive through the eyes of the cops who where there. It is a violent and unflinching account of the mayhem of that crazy week. It also puts to rest some of the exaggeration by some members of the press core that the police were the ones who had rioted. Kusch shows that the reporting that week was not always that objective as the media were being beat by the police, too. And while he shows how the cops behaved, he also puts that violence into a measured perspective by relating how the reporting of the police violence was skewed by personal conflict, raging stereotypes on both sides, and distortion after the fact of the ugly conflict as one side was able to shape our memory of that event through television and print journalism. Kusch does not sugarcoat the actions of the cops but shows them as real neighborhood guys who believed they were protecting their city from subversion. This book is a colorful, thoughtful account; some parts of it I will want to read again, especially the 50 to 60 pages devoted to the intense street battle which says so much about the Sixties and that fateful summer. Highly recommended.

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