America's Uncivil Wars: The Sixties Era from Elvis to the Fall of Richard Nixon

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Oxford University Press, Sep 1, 2005 - History - 432 pages
Here is a panoramic history of America from 1954 to 1973, ranging from the buoyant teen-age rebellion first captured by rock and roll, to the drawn-out and dispiriting endgame of Watergate. In America's Uncivil Wars, Mark Hamilton Lytle illuminates the great social, cultural, and political upheavals of the era. He begins his chronicle surprisingly early, in the late '50s and early '60s, when A-bomb protests and books ranging from Catcher in the Rye to Silent Spring and The Feminine Mystique challenged attitudes towards sexuality and the military-industrial complex. As baby boomers went off to college, drug use increased, women won more social freedom, and the widespread availability of birth control pills eased inhibitions against premarital sex. Lytle describes how in 1967 these isolated trends began to merge into the mainstream of American life. The counterculture spread across the nation, Black Power dominated the struggle for racial equality, and political activists mobilized vast numbers of dissidents against the war. It all came to a head in 1968, with the deepening morass of the war, the assassinations of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr., race riots, widespread campus unrest, the violence at the Democratic convention in Chicago, and the election of Richard Nixon. By then, not only did Americans divide over race, class, and gender, but also over matters as simple as the length of a boy's hair or of a girl's skirt. Only in the aftermath of Watergate did the uncivil wars finally crawl to an end, leaving in their wake a new elite that better reflected the nation's social and cultural diversity. Blending a fast-paced narration with broad cultural analysis, America's Uncivil Wars offers an invigorating portrait of the most tumultuous and exciting time in modern American history.

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PART ONE The Era of Consensus 195463
PART TWO The Sixties 196468
Welcome to the 1960s
The Great Freak Forward
A Very Bad Year Begins
PART THREE The Rise of Essentialist Politics and the Fall

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About the author (2005)

Mark Hamilton Lytle is a Professor of History and Director of the Historical Studies Program and is Codirector of the American Studies Program at Bard College. He is the coauthor of After the Fact: The Art of Historical Detection and Nation of Nations: A Narrative History of the American Republic.

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