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Turning Point, 1968

Turning Point, 1968

by Irwin Unger, Debi Unger

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The year 1968 saw not only the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy and the riots at the Democratic Convention in Chicago; that pivotal year, by the Ungers' reckoning, marked the collapse of the liberal consensus of the '60s, and saw the New Left shift from participatory ideals to bombs and rhetoric. This sweeping, balanced, vivid popular history by a husband-wife team (he is a professor of history at New York University, she is a journalist) surveys many facets of that decade. The Ungers venture forthright opinions; for example, they see John Kennedy's war on poverty as motivated by middle-class guilt, and they spurn the Black Muslims' ``profoundly anti-white'' teachings. Along with the familiar sagas of the anti-Vietnam War and civil rights crusades, the authors catch the ferment of the underground press, community action programs, welfare rights militancy, the free speech and sexual freedom movements. Every page brims with relevance to the 1980s. Photos not seen by PW. (October)
Library Journal - Library Journal
Two additions to the burgeoning literature on the 1960s. Kaiser's book is an evocative chronicle, a paean to the ``Sixties'' generation by a member of the clan. Kaiser looks specifically at, and appears to impute equal consequence to, the Vietnam war, the political fight against the war led by the campaigns of Eugene McCarthy and Robert Kennedy, the civil rights movement and the death of Martin Luther King, the Columbia University uprising, and the music of the period. He occasionally lapses into both hyperbole and a sort of generational egotism, and some of his historical analysis consists more of assertion than sustained argument. But his indictment of Eugene McCarthya chief themeis persuasive and his first-person journalistic style is easy to read. A good choice for public libraries. The Ungers have produced a more peevish version of the events of 1968. Where Kaiser concludes that the most lasting effect of the 1960s was the permanent rejection of conformity, the Ungers sum it up more ominously as the decade in which social reform became isolated from the political mainstream and the Democratic party became the captive of liberal ideologues. Although they place the events of 1968 in larger historical perspective, their detail is occasionally excessive; they also unpleasantly refer to physical characteristics of the people they discuss. Most useful to scholars. Cynthia Harrison, Federal Judicial Ctr . , Washington, D.C.
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
YA-- It seems, from the number of recently published books concerning 1968, that 1988 has become the year to look back at that turbulent year. Readers wondering which book to choose--or just looking for a good starting point--could do much worse than this book. Turning Point: 1968 is, to begin with, informative. The Civil Rights movement, anti-poverty campaigns, campus and ghetto unrest, the assassinations, the Vietnam War, the counter culture, and the politics underlying them all are thoroughly covered in this book. Young adults curious about American society today will be attracted to it. The Ungers clearly and convincingly show that 1988 was the culmination of the forces that were set in motion in 1968. Entertaining history.-- Karl Penny, formerly at Houston Public Library

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