The Politics of Authenticity: Liberalism, Christianity, and the New Left in America


Breaking new ground in cultural, political, and social history, Doug Rossinow illustrates the struggle for meaning and authenticity behind the 1960's-era student activism.
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Breaking new ground in cultural, political, and social history, Doug Rossinow illustrates the struggle for meaning and authenticity behind the 1960's-era student activism.
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Editorial Reviews

Robert McMahon

In a masterful blend of political, cultural, social, and diplomatic history, this book brings the crucial decade of the 1980s to life--and it does so in a highly original, imaginative manner. An ideal book for students, general readers, and speciallists alike.

Library Journal
"A search for authenticity in industrial American life"--that's what historian Rossinow (history, Metropolitan State Univ.) has identified as the main thrust of the New Left movement that powered the youth-driven political and social revolutions of the 1960s. He argues that the New Left resulted from a reaction to traditional American liberalism, which was seen by New Leftists as "elite-based," and from the influence of Christian existentialism, which redefined "sin" as "alienation" and "salvation" as "authenticity." Rossinow meticulously analyzes the interplay of academic politics and Texas state politics on the campus of the University of Texas, Austin, and shows how the New Left formed its organizational structure and ideological basis. This is a carefully researched, creative, and intriguing reinterpretation of American history. His thesis concerning the influence of Christian existentialism is overextended and the book is somewhat repetitive. But Rossinow's emphasis on the New Left's concerns with personal wholeness makes the idea of a continuum between the 1960s and the 1970s more palatable. Future books about the movement will need to consider this important study. For academic and large public libraries.--Jack Forman, Mesa Coll. Lib., San Diego
Historian Rossinow argues that it was a search for spiritual authenticity that propelled students and other young people in the 1960s to fight for social and political changes. Taking the University of Texas at Austin as his primary example, he finds early expressions of people's alienation in such Christian writers as Paul Tillich and in student Christian movements. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

Table of Contents

Introduction: From the Age of Anxiety to the Politics of Authenticity 1
1 This Once Fearless Land: Secular Liberals Under Right-Wing Rule 23
2 Breakthrough: The Relevance of Christian Existentialism 53
3 The Issues of Life: The University YMCA-YWCA and Christian Liberalism 85
4 To Be Radical New: Civil Right Protest and Leftward Movement 115
5 These People Were from America: The New Left Revisited 159
6 Against Rome: The New Left and the Vietnam War 209
7 This Whole Screwy Alliance: The New Left and the Counterculture 247
8 The Revolution Is Yet to Come: The Feminist Left 297
Epilogue: From the Politics of Authenticity to the Politics of Identity 335
Notes 347
Bibliography 453
Index 481
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