A New World to Be Won: John Kennedy, Richard Nixon, and the Tumultuous Year of 1960

A New World to Be Won: John Kennedy, Richard Nixon, and the Tumultuous Year of 1960

A New World to Be Won: John Kennedy, Richard Nixon, and the Tumultuous Year of 1960

A New World to Be Won: John Kennedy, Richard Nixon, and the Tumultuous Year of 1960

Synopsis

This book tells the story of 1960—a tumultuous, transitional year that unleashed the forces that eventually reshaped the American nation and the entire planet, to the joy of millions and the sorrow of millions more.

In 1960, attitudes were changing; barriers were falling. It was a transitional year, during which the world as we know it today was beginning to take shape. While other books have focused on the presidential contest between Kennedy and Nixon, A New World to Be Won: John Kennedy, Richard Nixon, and the Tumultuous Year of 1960 illuminates the emerging forces that would transform the nation and the world during the 1960s, putting the election in the broader context of American history—and world history as well.

While the author does devote a large portion of this book to the 1960 presidential campaign, he also highlights four pivotal trends that changed life for decades to come: unprecedented scientific breakthroughs, ranging from the Xerox copier to new spacecraft for manned flight; fragmentation of the international power structure, notably the schism between the Soviet Union and China; the pursuit of freedom, both through the civil rights movement at home and the drive for independence in Africa; and the elevation of pleasure and self-expression in American culture, largely as a result of federal approval of the birth-control pill and the increasing popularity of illegal drugs.

Excerpt

It was, for Dwight Eisenhower, a case of love at first flight.

Ike—his nickname since boyhood—had endured tedious forms of transportation throughout a military career spanning 37 years, followed by 7 years as president of the United States. He retained unhappy memories of a truck convoy in 1919 that took two months to crawl from coast to coast: of innumerable bumpy, uncomfortable jeep rides; of ponderous, rackety propeller-driven aircraft.

But this was different. Eisenhower’s official plane, the Columbine, had been replaced by one of the true innovations of the late fifties, a passenger jet. The maiden presidential voyage of the Boeing 707, dubbed Air Force One, would carry Ike from Andrews Air Force Base outside of Washington to Germany, France, and Great Britain. It swooshed skyward under a silvery half-moon at 3:57 A.M. on August 26, 1959, heading east.

The president was instantly hooked, pronouncing jet travel “an exhilarating experience.” Air Force One zipped toward Germany at 540 miles per hour, getting an extra boost from a 50-mile-per-hour tailwind. Eisenhower marveled at the jet’s “silent, effortless acceleration and its rapid rate of climb.” Long-distance travel, potentially an unpleasant ordeal for a man nearing his 69th birthday, had suddenly become enjoyable.

What awaited Eisenhower was equally surprising. Air Force One landed that afternoon in Bonn, the capital of West Germany, the part of Germany that had been occupied by American, British, and French forces at the end of World War II. Bonn was small (population: 140,000), and Eisenhower was the same man who had conquered Nazi . . .

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