Remembering the Sixties

The Eve of Destruction – How 1965 Transformed America by James T. Patterson, 2012.

I wondered how a description of the sixties would match up to my memories. I finished high school in 1967, which means I rode out 1965 in a rather protected, suburban corner of the world. Different authors have picked different years as the crux of the sixties. Patterson emphasizes how fast attitudes changed (from hopeful to anxious) during 1965.

Two themes run through this book – Vietnam and civil rights.

To me, the important aspect of Vietnam was the draft. It was a cloud on the horizon in 1965, but before I was out of college, some draft boards called up every eligible man in their region. I was reminded that, in 1965, two Americans killed themselves by burning to protest the draft. News coverage at the time was scanty. 

Details about the civil rights movement were similarly interesting.

This book provides a good review of an important part of our history. Patterson (a professor at Brown University) has written (at least) seven other books. Several deal further with civil rights, and one is about cancer.



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