They burned bras, draft cards, and even the American flag. In acts of civil disobedience, they defied the police, the military, and the government as they battled to change American society. But what drove a group of young Americans to democratic revolution in the tumultuous years of the 1960s, and what made them think they could win? They were a generation brought up to expect fairness and equality. Born in the 1940s, a time of strong democratic idealism influenced by the political Left and remnants of the New Deal, they grew up in families where parents treated their children as equals in a sort of mini-democracy. They attended progressive schools that stressed individuality and the importance of students. They were part of the Baby Boom, but a separate and discrete subsection who grew up in the idealistic decade from 1940 to 1950. They were Democracy's Children. In this new book, Edward K. Spann looks at the motivations and values of the young rebels of the 1960s. He links their fight for equality for African Americans, women, and other marginalized groups to the democratic values of their World War II-era parents. Unlike other books which explore the revolutionary movements of the era, Democracy's Children looks at the individuals who comprised the movements. Spann provides a cultural portrait of who the rebels were, what they thought, what they did, and what became of them after they crossed that magical divide of age thirty. He gives due consideration to the wide spectrum of youth opinion from radical to conservative to apolitical. Democracy's Children will fascinate readers with its colorful depictions of the individuals, events, and drama of the 1960s.
In this cogent, sprightly, and provocative volume, Spann assesses the influence of the middle-class baby boomers born in the 1940s and argues persuasively that this subgeneration of democracy's children was a 'special breed with a special purpose.'
Recommended. All levels/libraries.
Kenneth J. Heineman
Detailing the demographic changes and currents of popular culture in the United States following World War II, Spann provides an accessible, intriguing overview with which to interpret the rise of the 1960s protest generation.
A compact yet marvelously detailed synthesis.
Democracy's Children addresses a broad range of topics in its concise coverage of the sixties generation. It challenges some of the prevailing stereotypes and reveals added complexity in the experiences of young people during that controversial era.
Chapter 1 Introduction Chapter 2 Genesis Chapter 3 Schooling in Changing Times Chapter 4 Restless Youth Chapter 5 Scaling the Ivied Walls Chapter 6 In Diversity, Separation Chapter 7 New Radicals, New Hopes Chapter 8 Young America at War Chapter 9 Counterculture Chapter 10 Politics Chapter 11 Change and Its Limits Chapter 12 Coming Home Chapter 13 Epilogue: Baby Bust and Beyond Chapter 14 Bibliographical Essay Chapter 15 Index