America Divided: The Civil War of the 1960s
By Michael Kazin
Isserman (If I Had a Hammer) and Kazin (The Populist Persuasion) are two of the keenest practitioners of the history of American people’s politics. Both came of age in the 1960s, and each has a genetic link, respectively, to the Old Left and the grand liberal tradition of the 1930s. No better-suited collaborators could join to offer a history of the American Sixties. But while the book they offer is commendably balanced, the authors have not written a definitive text. Oddly, they cover most penetratingly terrain already well trod by more staid scholars: conventional electoral politics, Vietnam, the four presidencies, the assassinations. Their most important contribution comes in demonstrating the rise not only of a New Left but a new and persistent Right. By contrast, their writing on the advent of the counterculture, movement politics, and especially urban black nationalism is familiar and too brief. The authors seem to be aiming this book at the undergraduate survey-course market–each reference to Jim Crow is accompanied by a parenthetical definition–and apparently decided to economize on the very subjects still most unsettled by conventional wisdom. Nevertheless, this is recommended for academic, secondary school, and public libraries.
From Library Journal