The Columbia Guide to America in the 1960s

The Columbia Guide to America in the 1960s

The Columbia Guide to America in the 1960s

The Columbia Guide to America in the 1960s

Synopsis

The 1960s continue to be the subject of passionate debate and political controversy, a touchstone in struggles over the meaning of the American past and the direction of the American future. Amid the polemics and the myths, making sense of the Sixties and its legacies presents a challenge. This book is for all those who want to take it on. Because there are so many facets to this unique and transformative era, this volume offers multiple approaches and perspectives. The first section gives a lively narrative overview of the decade's major policies, events, and cultural changes. The second presents ten original interpretative essays from prominent historians about significant and controversial issues from the Vietnam War to the sexual revolution, followed by a concise encyclopedia articles organized alphabetically. This section could stand as a reference work in itself and serves to supplement the narrative. Subsequent sections include short topical essays, special subjects, a brief chronology, and finally an extensive annotated bibliography with ample information on books, films, and electronic resources for further exploration. With interesting facts, statistics, and comparisons presented in almanac style as well as the expertise of prominent scholars, The Columbia Guide to America in the 1960s is the most complete guide to an enduringly fascinating era.

Excerpt

The Sixties era was among the most colorful, complex, and eventful periods in American history. More than any other decade of the twentieth century, the 1960s continue to be the subject of passionate debate and political controversy in the United States, a touchstone in struggles over the meaning of the American past and the direction of the nation's future. Amid all the polemics and the myths, making sense of the 1960s and its legacies is a real challenge. This book is for all those who want to try.

Because there are so many “Sixties,” this volume offers multiple approaches to the era and different perspectives on it. We hope that readers will treat The Columbia Guide to the 1960s as a kind of toolkit. Each section of the book provides a different tool for understanding the decade, and readers can use various combinations of these tools to construct histories of the Sixties that are most suited to their interests, needs, and levels of knowledge.

This book is divided into six sections. The first offers a narrative overview of the era. It serves as a clear and accessible introduction to the 1960s for those who know little about them and provides a historical perspective for those who lived through the tumultuous events of the decade.

In the second section, “Debating the Sixties,” ten essays by prominent historians discuss some of the most significant issues of the era—ranging from the Vietnam War to race relations to the sexual revolution—and their legacies. Each essay provides an overview of current historiographical debates for students and scholars, as well as for readers interested in how the Sixties have been interpreted by scholars and other writers. These essays also take a stand: each of the authors ends by explaining his or her position in the debate.

The third section, “The Sixties A to Z,” contains alphabetically organized entries on some of the most interesting and significant people of the era, as well as on its major events and movements. This section supplements the nar-

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