Coming Apart: An Informal History of America in the 1960's

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William L. O'Neill's masterly chronicle of the twentieth century's most confounding decade is an immensely readable book that combines wit with learning and seriousness with entertainment. Its emphasis is inevitably on politics, but it offers a brilliant yet balanced portrayal of the New Left, the counterculture, the civil rights movement, the plunge into Vietnam, the crisis in the universities, and the freakier aspects of the popular culture. It has endured as one of the great interpretations of the sixties.

A fresh, incisive and balanced analysis of the 1960's, that brings to light new aspects of that turbulent decade.

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Editorial Reviews

Nicholas von Hoffman
A first-rate book that will last for a long time.
Studs Terkel
A witty and incisive chronicle of the Pirandello sixties. . . . Seldom have reality and fantasy been so intertwined.
David Halberstam
Marvelous, funny, and wise.
Midwest Book Review - James A. Cox
Both readable and involving, presenting the political and cultural focus with a twist of wit and sympathetic insight rare to an interpretation of the times.
Cleveland Press
One of those rare books that starts out good and improves as it goes along. O'Neill has captured it all at just the right moment with just the right wit and intellect.
Chicago Sun-Times
For those who like their history readable and authentic, this is their book. It does magnificently for the 1960s what Frederick Lewis Allen did for the 1920s.
Midwest Book Review
Both readable and involving, presenting the political and cultural focus with a twist of wit and sympathetic insight rare to an interpretation of the times.
— James A. Cox
Coming Apart: An Informal History of America in the 1960s is both readable and involving.
The Bookwatch
"'Coming Apart: An Informal History of America in the 1960s' is both readable and involving."
May 2005
Midwest Book Review
"Both readable and involving, presenting the political and cultural focus with a twist of wit and sympathetic insight rare to an interpretation of the times."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781566636131
  • Publisher: Dee, Ivan R. Publisher
  • Publication date: 11/28/2004
  • Edition description: New Introduction by Author
  • Pages: 488
  • Sales rank: 885,032
  • Product dimensions: 6.16 (w) x 8.70 (h) x 1.02 (d)

Meet the Author

William L. O'Neill is professor of history at Rutgers University and author of A Democracy at War, Everyone Was Brave, American High, and other books in American history. He lives in Highland Park, New Jersey.

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Table of Contents

1 Prologue : Eisenhower's year 3
Profile : the Supreme Court 25
2 Building Camelot 29
Profile : space 51
3 Completing the myth 61
Profile : the Warren Report and after 94
4 Johnson in power 104
Profile : Ralph Nader 123
5 The desperate years being 128
Profile : the city 147
6 From civil rights to black power 158
Profile : women's liberation 195
7 Two cultures 200
Profile : sports 228
8 The counter-culture 233
Profile : Hell's Angels 272
9 The new left comes and goes 275
Profile : religion 306
10 To Tet and back 319
Profile : organized medicine 355
11 1968 : the hard year 360
Profile : Cesar Chavez 393
12 Epilogue : the revolution is over 396
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