Making Peace with the 60s / Edition 1

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Overview

"The 1990s continue to be haunted by the 1960s. In this lively, thought-provoking visit to the sixties, David Burner helps us understand why so many of the idealistic aspirations of that decade were disappointed and what we might do to recover them."—William E. Leuchtenburg, William Rand Kenan Professor, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

"In this lively, thought-provoking revisit to the sixties, David Burner helps us understand why so many of the idealistic aspirations of that decade were disappointed and what we might do to recover them."—William Leuchtenburg

"A wise and compelling account of liberalism's demise.... Great fun to read—witty, perceptive, and well-written."—David Oshinsky, Rutgers University

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Editorial Reviews

Washington Times - Philip Gold
A sane, reasoned, civil book on the 1960s by a liberal academic: Who says the age of miracles is over? . . . Making Peace with the 60s is a fine book.
Book World - Lewis L. Gould
Burner has mastered the large volume of recent historical writing on the period, has thought carefully about the major issues, and makes some fascinating connections among the civil rights movement, the Beats, and the student rebellions in the middle of the decade. . . . Burner is balanced and fair-minded, especially on such controversial topics as the origins of black power, the social contributions of the Great Society, and the political mistakes of liberalism during the Kennedy and Johnson years.
From the Publisher
"A thoughtful, almost elegiac, examination of liberalism's moral and ideological collapse over ten famously tumultuous years. . . . The book is lucid, and Burner's tone throughout is as measured and reasonable as the creed whose redemption he seeks. . . . a valuable contribution for those still trying to make sense of the '60s."—Kirkus Reviews

"A sane, reasoned, civil book on the 1960s by a liberal academic: Who says the age of miracles is over? . . . Making Peace with the 60s is a fine book."—Philip Gold, Washington Times

"Burner has mastered the large volume of recent historical writing on the period, has thought carefully about the major issues, and makes some fascinating connections among the civil rights movement, the Beats, and the student rebellions in the middle of the decade. . . . Burner is balanced and fair-minded, especially on such controversial topics as the origins of black power, the social contributions of the Great Society, and the political mistakes of liberalism during the Kennedy and Johnson years."—Lewis L. Gould, Book World

"Burner offers a keen-sighted, comprehensive analysis of a fascinating era.... Readers searching for an admirable explanation of the cross-connections in this mythic decade can find them here."—Publishers Weekly

Washington Times
A sane, reasoned, civil book on the 1960s by a liberal academic: Who says the age of miracles is over? . . . Making Peace with the 60s is a fine book.
— Philip Gold
Book World
Burner has mastered the large volume of recent historical writing on the period, has thought carefully about the major issues, and makes some fascinating connections among the civil rights movement, the Beats, and the student rebellions in the middle of the decade. . . . Burner is balanced and fair-minded, especially on such controversial topics as the origins of black power, the social contributions of the Great Society, and the political mistakes of liberalism during the Kennedy and Johnson years.
— Lewis L. Gould
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Burner, a professor of history at SUNY, Stonybrook, offers a new look at the impact of the tumultuous '60s. Burner's masterful retelling of the civil rights movement rekindles the excitement of Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King and others who risked so much. Following this, however, the inclusiveness of the movement was undermined by black separatists in Nation of Islam and SNCC Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. "The black power ethos," he says, "strives to encrust black Americans into a single mass, and whites into another." The lasting contribution of the Republicans, who followed the Democrats into power, was a skewing of the traditional work ethic into "Don't tax my tax dollars to relieve my neighbor's poverty." With clearheaded expertise, Burner also pieces together the cultural mosaic of the '60s. Although his section on John Kennedy recycles much of the now familiar foibles and high-minded fortunes of JFK's White House, his treatment of writers gives real credence to the idea of literature leading to and shaping the era. Jack Kerouac's On the Road "a road map for the sixties", Gary Synder's Zen input of righting the relationship of self to the world, and other intellectual artifacts helped create a movement counter to Establishment materialism. Burner offers a keen-sighted, comprehensive analysis of a fascinating era that produced the Flower Children and Richard Nixon. Readers searching for an admirable explanation of the cross-connections in this mythic decade can find them here. Oct.
Library Journal
Burner John F. Kennedy and a New Generation, Addison-Wesley, 1988 chronicles the breakdown of liberalism during the 1960s. He begins with the Civil Rights movement, then continues with JFK and the Cold War, the counterculture movement, the war on poverty, and U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. With each topic he illustrates how liberalism went wrong and how it ultimately self-destructed. Although not meant to be a complete history of the decade, his book does report on most of the major movements of the time. Burner does not cover the women's movement at all, explaining that it does not fit because it was not a "phenomenon of the 1960s either chronologically or as discussed herein." Burner concludes that liberalism ultimately failed because it became splintered and fractious. He also provides some keen insight into the ways in which the liberalism of the era has affected politics right up to the 1990s. Recommended for academic and public libraries.Roseanne Castellino, D'Youville Coll. Lib., Buffalo, N.Y.
Kirkus Reviews
A thoughtful, almost elegiac, examination of liberalism's moral and ideological collapse over ten famously tumultuous years, by historian Burner (John F. Kennedy and a New Generation, 1988, etc.).

This is thematic, not narrative, history, by an academic firmly situated not far left of center. Burner carefully delineates what he considers the lamentable decline of the civil rights movement of the early '60s into the black separatism of later years; of the Beats' quest for the self-knowledge that comes from new experiences into the mere self-indulgence of the counterculture; and of a vocal sector of the peace movement into admiration for leftist authoritarianism in Vietnam and elsewhere. He locates the wellspring of liberalism's fall in its deference to constituencies seen as historically oppressed, such as women, blacks, and gays; he argues persuasively that this shift culminated in a narrow politics of group identity at odds with liberalism's historic task of democratically altering power relations for the common good. Burner's focus on the rift between New Deal liberalism and New Left radicalism has serious flaws: It leads him to overestimate the power of ideology in shaping actions, while at the same time smothering consideration of the ultimately more influential conservatism that emerged from the '60s with neoconservative intellectuals, most of them disillusioned liberals, as its handmaidens. This political historian is, oddly, more acute and original in his approaches to cultural than to political currents; his analysis of the Beat writers is perceptive and eloquent, while he has little to add to conventional liberal wisdom on such subjects as Black Power and the Cold War. Still, the book is lucid, and Burner's tone throughout is as measured and reasonable as the creed whose redemption he seeks.

This volume does little to achieve the goal of its title, but it should be a valuable contribution for those still trying to make sense of the '60s.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691059532
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 12/22/1997
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 302
  • Sales rank: 1,180,905
  • Product dimensions: 6.18 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.77 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction 3
I Sudden Freedom 13
II Killers of the Dream 49
III Resolve and Restraint: The Cold War under Kennedy 84
IV The Rucksack Revolution 113
V Do Not Spindle: The Student Rebellion 134
VI The Poverty Wars 167
VII The Liberals' War in Vietnam 189
Epilogue 217
Bibliography 225
Acknowledgments 287
Index 289

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