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

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

Mark Hamilton Lytle
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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"This is a very well-written and engaging book, which deftly synthesizes much of the scholarship on the 1960s. Its virtues are its breadth, its cogency, and its ability to make this turbulent time come alive in all sorts of ways." --Ed Linenthal, author of The Unfinished Bombing: Oklahoma City inAmerican Memory"This book is pure narrative history. It moves forward relentlessly, omnivorously, in torrents of precise and well-paced prose. It should be viewed, primarily, as a newsreel, a Bayeaux Tapestry, a mural in some palace of memory. The fundamental success of this book is Lytle's ability to zero in on the significant events, to place them in their proper context, and to tell his story as vividly as possible."--Kevin Starr, University of Southern California

Product Description

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.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 5722 KB
  • Print Length: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA (22 July 2005)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #523,634 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great Read! 2 Mar 2014
By ellen
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Studying American politics in the 1960s and this provides a background to what was happening in the decade! It's also a very interesting read!
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5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant 15 Nov 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Never bothered to submit a review before but feel this book is worth it. I got it from the library read it, bought my daughter a copy, then went and got myself one too. I feel that everyone who's got the least bit interested in late 20th western history should read it. Well written and totally captivating it goes very well with a similar book "Theres a riot going on" which covers the same historical period but which focuses more on the popular culture side of things than the political.

That said both copies I bought were used, in pristine and a fraction of the new price!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.0 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Most Balanced Account of the 60s Yet 20 Oct 2006
By Katherine Blood - Published on
This is the most balanced account of the 60s I've ever read. Too many authors are caught up in their own experience or continue to fight the battles of the era. America's Uncivil Wars recognizes that the 60s were more a generational experience than a discrete period of time. I fully agree with the division into three periods from 56-64, 64-68, and 68 through Watergate. A driving sense of narrative moves the book from event to event and brings to life the wide range of personalities who gave the 60s their flavor. The background material on the 50s and the growing attacks on consensus culture are rich and engagingly told. And no other book I've read gives such prominence to feminists, the Red and Brown Power movements, environmentalism, and Gay Rights. Conservative student and political movements get their due as well. My only regret is that the book, like the 60s, had to end because this is a good read.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars VERY INFORMATIVE 16 Jun 2014
By Ali al-Rahman - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
9 of 21 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Why fact-checking matters 7 July 2007
By David E. Arnold - Published on
I cannot in good conscience recommend Mr. Lytle's "America's Uncivil Wars" due to several egregious errors which found their way past his fact-checkers (if any) and made it into print. To cite a few:
1. In citing the impact of the Beatles early in the book, he quotes the lyrics of "She Loves You" as "with a love like that, you know it can't be bad." The actual lyric, of course, is "you know you should be glad." This should be common knowledge among Lytle's (and later) generations; the misquote is puzzling at best.
2. He refers to George McGovern as the Senator from North Dakota. McGovern, of course, was from South Dakota.
3. Late in the book, he cites Lyndon Johnson's attempts to stymie Richard Nixon's "re-election" in 1968. Nixon, of course, was running for election, not re-election.

While taken individually, these mis-statements may appear innocuous. However, since Lytle purports to be writing a comprehensive overview of a contentious era in our history, a little more attention to the facts might have been in order.

The balance of the book, while a reasonably pleasant read, covers ground that has been covered in far greater detail and analysis by myriad writers such as Todd Gitlin, Stephen Ambrose, Tom Wicker, Woodward & Bernstein, and others. Readers interested in a more probing analysis of this period of our history are advised to seek out their works.
2 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Our Turbulent Years & Their Aftermath. 29 Dec 2005
By Betty Burks - Published on
This was a most interesting book for me, as I must have slept through the Sixties; I remember the Fifties part and the happenings of the Seventies, when former President Richard Nixon was disgraced. He covers the times from 1954 (an important time in my history) to 1973 with the social, cultural and political upheavals. First came rock'n'roll which, he says, instigated teenage rebellion; I detested that 'junk,' as 'pop music' was a part of my young life -- the most important, I guess. Knoxville was not big on rock and roll, as it is primarily steeped in hillbilly and country. We've always been naturally musical here, but in a different way from the rest of the country.

This book gives us a journey back in memory to that unsettled era when parts of America were tearing itself apart. I'm glad I lived in a small town further South during the civil unrest which shook the country, and I honestly don't remember the atomic bomb protests of the late '50s. During the turbulent times of the '60s, Woodstock and the drug culture were not a part of my existence -- a vague memory of reading about it only. At our junior college, there were no protestors of the VietNam War; my neighbors (two old ladies) would tell me about the Vietnamese setting themselves on fire as a protest, which they saw on television. It was a time when "political activists mobilized vast numbers of dissidents against the war," as some are trying to do now with the lingering Iraq War.

At Kent State (only a photo in the news to me), there was campus unrest which resulted in an innocent person being shot and killed by the police. He gave bad descriptions of William Buckley (I admit, he is hard to take at times!) and Joseph McCarthy. McCarthyism was a part of life in 1950 and on past the death of its instigator. Extremist groups were around then, as they are now. The Watergate scandal was President Nixon's undoing, when he went on the defensive. "Only in the aftermath of Watergate, did the uncivil wars ... end." The late Jack White, a 'Time' magazine columnist, won the Pulitzer Prize for his exposure of Richard Nixom's underpayment of his income taxes. His 1973 story prompted the president (who paid more than four hundred thousand dollars in back taxes) to utter his famous remark, "I am not a crook." I remember vividly in 1973 when he was almost impeached, like another U.S. President Bill Clinton, and resigned under pressure.

6 of 71 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Terrible 14 Oct 2005
By Raymond Jensen - Published on
Lets say you were reading a book on the mafia, written by John Gotti, or perhaps some lesser-known mobster. And there was nothing but glowing accolades for the mob and it's activities. Furthermore, anyone who opposed the mafia and it's activities was labeled an "extremist" and in the text, their names were never more than about 4 or 5 words away from words like "Ku Klux Klan," "racist," "bigoted," or "paranoid," you'd begin to suspect that the book was a bit biased, wouldn't you?

"Americas Uncivil Wars" is a book written by Mark Lytle, a professor at Bard College. He documents events in American History, in this book, from the 1950's to about 1975. Practically every time a genuine conservative individual, or organization is mentioned in this book, it is associated to a racist organization, whenever Mr. Lytle doesn't add his own commentary. For example, on page 22, he says Joseph McCarthy revealed himself as a "mean-spirited slob." This is a far cry from the McCarthy I know, the McCarthy who wrote the brilliant "Americas Retreat from Victory" for example. And forget about anything good mentioned about the John Birch Society. Page 138: "Most Americans ignored the hooded Klansmen, the John Birchers, and other extremists..." never mind the fact that JBS is not and never was a racist or an extremist organization. But here is their name, sandwiched between the KKK and "extremist."

It is a typical tactic of the left to associate the opposition with the "stench of racism" as Stalin may have put it (I don't remember his exact quote). But you might ask, what about on page 89 where he refers glowingly to William F. Buckley as "the cornerstone of the anti-communist wing of conservatism...?" Keep in mind that this is the same Buckley who years later, in Lingua Franca magazine, confessed that he would be a "Mike Harrington Socialist" or a "Communist" if he were college brat today.

Now on the other hand, try to find anywhere in this book, the words "murderer," or even "extremist" in front of names like Mao Tse Tung, or Che Guevara or Tom Hayden, to name a few. There is a good reason for that, but I will leave it to your imagination, the reason why.

In summary, should you decide to read this book, take it with a grain of salt, or better yet some motion-sickness pills because unless you are prone to the same convictions as our professor Lytle is, you're going to need a barf-bag.
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