John Hazlett’s engaging and insightful study of writers from the 1960s demonstrates for the first time the ways in which the idea of the generation has affected autobiographical writing in this century. Exchanging “I” for “we,” autobiographers from the sixties claim to speak on behalf of all members of their generation. However, the extent to which each perspective accurately represents that generation’s beliefs, values, and goals will continually be contested by competing texts and narratives.
Writers whose work is addressed in My Generation include Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, Tom Hayden, Michael Rossman, Dotson Rader, Raymond Mungo, Jane Alpert, John Bunzel, Peter Collier, David Horowitz, Joyce Maynard, David Harris, and Todd Gitlin.
As Hazlett discovered, the stories these writers present are not simply straightforward accounts; instead, each is constructed with a specific political and personal agenda in an effort to define the generation’s identity and the writer’s own.