The Sixties, by Terry H. Anderson

Powerful Essays
The Sixties, by Terry H. Anderson, takes the reader on a journey through one of the most turbulent decades in American life. Beginning with the crew-cut conformity of 1950s Cold War culture and ending with the transition into the uneasy '70s, Anderson notes the rise of an idealistic generation of baby boomers, widespread social activism, and revolutionary counterculture. Anderson explores the rapidly shifting mood of the country with the optimism during the Kennedy years, the liberal advances of Johnson's "Great Society," and the growing conflict over Vietnam that nearly tore America apart. The book also navigates through different themes regarding the decade's different currents of social change; including the anti-war movement, the civil rights struggle, and the liberation movements. From the lunch counter sit-in of Greensboro, N.C. in 1960 and the rise of Martin Luther King, Jr. to the Black Power movement at the decade's end, Anderson illustrates the brutality involved in the reaction against civil rights, the radicalization of some of the movement's youth, and the eventual triumphs that would change America forever. He also discusses women's liberation and the feminist movement, as well as the students' rights, gay rights, and environmental movements. There are several significant, as well as less significant, themes that are put forth by the author. Some themes that are not as meticulously elaborated on, but still contribute to the book, include the idea that war can corrupt the government and it’s actions, police brutality was part of the norm of the 1960s, and the word “power” had more than one meaning during the civil rights era. All these themes are important to take into consideration upon reading this book; however th... ... middle of paper ... ...War and the Civil Rights Movements in order to illustrate how the 1960s was a time of “tumult and change.” To Anderson, it is these events, which sparked the demand for recognition of social and economic fairness. He makes prominent the idea that the 1960s served as the origin of activism and the birth of the civil rights movement, forever changing ideals that embody America. The book overall is comprehensive and a definite attention grabber. It shows how the decade had the effect of drastically transforming life in America and challenging the unequal status quo that has characterized most of the nation's history. Despite the violence and conflict that was provoked by these changes, the activism and the liberation movements that took place have left a permanent imprint upon the country. Works Cited Anderson, Terry H.. The sixties. New York: Longman, 1999. Print.
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