This Is America?: The Sixties in Lawrence, Kansas

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Communities across America were thrown into upheaval during the 1960s, when thousands of young people began to publicly question the status quo. Grassroots social movements sprung up on hundreds of college campuses and often spread to surrounding towns, where participants debated race, the role of government, Vietnam, feminism, the cold war, and other issues of the day. Yet this dynamic did not occur in a vacuum: Americans that supported the status quo came together to oppose the activists, and joined a national debate on the meaning of citizenship and patriotism. Rusty L. Monhollon uncovers the voices of ordinary people on all sides of the political spectrum in the university town of Lawrence, Kansas. He reveals how Americans from a range of ideological and political perspectives responded to and tried to resolve political and social conflict in the 1960s. By focusing on a single community, Monhollon vividly demonstrates that the war at home reached deep into the nation's core, and affected the lives of ordinary citizens on a daily basis.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...illuminate[s] in important ways a major part of recent US history."—K. Blaser, Choice

"Rusty Monhollon provides a useful corrective to the by-now traditional Berkeley/Upper West Side of New York-centric narratives of the 1960s. Dissent and discord shook middle America in those years, just as they did the better known centers of student activism and racial militancy on the two coasts. But it’s not just the regional angle that makes this book so interesting. In this dark-hued account we encounter a wide range of fallible human beings, political actors on the left and the right, whites and blacks, young and old." Maurice Isserman, William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of History, Hamilton College, and co-author of America Divided: The Civil War of the 1960s

Library Journal
In his first book, Monhollon (history, Hood Coll.) examines Lawrence, KS, during the 1960s. Being the home of the University of Kansas guaranteed that Lawrence would see the same type of student activism that other universities experienced during the decade. However, the population of Lawrence itself was socially and politically conservative. Townsfolk supported the Vietnam War and were unsympathetic to the Civil Rights, antiwar, and feminist movements. Confrontations between student activists and the local authorities grew during the late 1960s, climaxing in July 1970 when police shot two men. These deaths led to weeks of shootings and arson, which forced the governor to send in the National Guard to patrol the city. Monhollon uses interviews, newspaper articles, and other archival sources to present this story. Richly detailed and well written, his book gives an excellent account of how a Midwestern town was affected by a troubled period of American history. For all libraries. Stephen L. Hupp, West Virginia Univ. Lib., Parkersburg Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Monhollon (history, Hood College) looks at how citizens of the college town of Lawrence, Kansas, responded to the tumultuous upheavals of the 1960s and 1970s. Drawing on local opinion on both national and local issues, he surveys the voices and actions of civil rights and antiwar activists, hippies, and feminists, as well as conservatives and anticommunists, culminating in the events triggered by police shootings of two men in one week. B&w historical photos are included. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312293291
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Publication date: 5/28/2002
  • Edition description: REV
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.87 (d)

Meet the Author

Rusty L. Monhollon is assistant professor of history at Hood College.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
List of Abbreviations
Introduction 1
Ch. 1 "The Homestead of the Free" 9
Ch. 2 "Kansas Must Declare War" 23
Ch. 3 "The Right to These Things" 43
Ch. 4 "The Proper Sense of Values" 63
Ch. 5 "Our Way of Life" 83
Ch. 6 "The American Way" 111
Ch. 7 "This Is America? This Is Kansas? This is Lawrence?" 139
Ch. 8 "This Town Will Blow Away" 165
Ch. 9 "Finally We Were Doing Something" 187
Epilogue 213
Notes 217
Selected Bibliography 265
Index 273
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