When America Turned: Reckoning with 1968 (Paperback)
  • When America Turned: Reckoning with 1968 (Paperback)
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When America Turned: Reckoning with 1968 (Paperback)

(author)
£31.50
Paperback 336 Pages / Published: 30/01/2014
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Much has been written about the seismic shifts in American culture and politics during the 1960s. Yet for all the analysis of that turbulent era, its legacy remains unclear. In this elegantly written book, David Wyatt offers a fresh perspective on the decade by focusing on the pivotal year of 1968. He takes as his point of departure the testimony delivered by returning veteran John Kerry before the Senate Armed Services Committee in 1971, as he imagined a time in the future when the word "Vietnam" would mean "the place where America finally turned." But turning from what, to what-and for better or for worse?

Wyatt explores these questions as he retraces the decisive moments of 1968-the Tet Offensive, the McCarthy campaign, the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy, the student revolt at Columbia, the "police riot" at the Democratic Convention in Chicago, Lyndon Johnson's capitulation, and Richard Nixon's ascendency to power. Seeking to recover the emotions surrounding these events as well as analyse their significance, Wyatt draws on the insights of what Michael Herr has called "straight" and "secret" histories. The first category consists of work by professional historians, traditional journalists, public figures, and political operatives, while the second includes the writings of novelists, poets, New Journalists, and memoirists.

The aim of this parallel approach is to uncover two kinds of truth: a "scholarly truth" grounded in the documented past and an "imaginative truth" that occupies the more ambiguous realm of meaning. Only by reckoning with both, Wyatt believes, can Americans come to understand the true legacy of the 1960s.

Publisher: University of Massachusetts Press
ISBN: 9781625340610
Number of pages: 336
Weight: 517 g
Dimensions: 227 x 162 x 24 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

An insightful and beautifully written effort to address the significance of 1968 as the moment when America 'turned' away from the myth of its own innocence. Wyatt has a solid grasp of some of the most significant memoirs and novels to emerge from the 1960s, and he nicely combines this creative writing with historical scholarship to illuminate the tensions and contradictions of that era as well as the efforts to come to terms with them.--Scott Laderman, author of Tours of Vietnam: Wars, Travel Guides, and Memory

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