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The Long March: How the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s Changed America Hardcover – 16 May 2003

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 326 pages
  • Publisher: Encounter Books,USA; First Edition edition (16 May 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1893554090
  • ISBN-13: 978-1893554092
  • Product Dimensions: 22.3 x 14.7 x 2.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,309,893 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Roger Kimball is managing editor of the New Criterion. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Inside This Book

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First Sentence
In November 1995, an exhibition called "Beat Culture and the New America: 1950-1965" opened at The Whitney Museum of America Art. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 4 Mar. 2002
Format: Paperback
Have you ever thought that the 60's wasn't all it was cracked up to be? Ever wondered why so much praise is lavished on the acid-fuelled gibberings of Ginsberg, Burroughs, Timothy Leary and all the other gods of the counter-culture? Ever winced at the misogynist bile masquerading as literature from the pen of Norman Mailer? Perhaps wondered whether current record levels of drug misery, crime and social breakdown could have had their antecedents in the so -called flower children of the love decade?
If so, then this book's for you. Kimball's acid demolition of the leading lights of 60's literary and political radicalism is a scary but hilarious read. His argument is essentially that, although the drug experimentation and flirtations with sexual promiscuity and violent insurrection seemed deliciously radical in the 60s, the attitudes promulgated then have since become mainstream, and this has proven destructive and corrupting when applied to society as a whole and not just the priviliged elite.
It's hard to disagree with this analysis, which is persuasively put. If "the Long March" has a fault, it is that Kimball's assault on the 60s is occasionally a little too shrill and curmudgeonly. Much of the radical posturing ofthe time was undoubtedly juvenile and facile. But there was plenty to oppose in the 60s - racial segregation, the war in Vietnam - and to dismiss it all is as rebellion for it's own sake is a little harsh. Highly recommended though.
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2 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 14 Mar. 2005
Format: Paperback
Kimball is comprehensive, I will give him that. But if you are looking for an objective work on the Sixties, please avoid this book. This is a political exercise, not a serious analysis.
On a literary level, Kimball constantly regurgitates the same quotes to highlight his points. He uses the exact same Sontag quote about four times in one chapter. He refuses to engage with any ideas or analysis other than that the Sixties were a failure. He disregards any kind of structural analysis of the period, and relies on highly personal attacks on Susan Sontag and Norman Mailer to get by. He does not engage with the historiography of the period, relying on his own internal judgements of writers.
To sum up, if you want a good objective piece of writing on the Sixties, avoid this book LIKE THE PLAGUE.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 52 reviews
57 of 62 people found the following review helpful
Excellently written (though biased) chronicle of the 60's 3 Jan. 2001
By J. Lizzi - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I'm old enough to remember a little of what went on politically and culturally in the 1960's, but too young to be conversant when it comes to the noted writers, activists and others who set the tone for the "revolution" that took place toward the end of the postwar baby boom. To me, "The Long March" served as a great documentary introduction to this time period that changed the social agenda for many.
Roger Kimball is a conservative who can't stand the influence of the 1960's (actually, the late 50's through the early 70's) in creating what he calls the "liberal establishment" that evolved from that era. His book is a superbly written (and yes, conservatively biased) account of the progression of thought and activism through a little more than a decade, spurred on by a group of influential artists and "avant-garde" intellectuals of the time. The author focuses primarily on the literary aspects of 60's radicalism, with a wealth of commentary on works by authors/poets such as Norman Mailer, Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs, Jack Kerouac, Susan Sontag, Timothy Leary and Eldridge Cleaver. In addition, Mr. Kimball chronicles the activism involving the Black Panthers and the student revolts at Berkeley, Cornell and Yale Universities.
Most of Mr. Kimball's efforts are aimed at trashing quotes (literary or otherwise) by every guru that happened to hold sway over the 60's youth and associated political/social "counterculture." I must say, he does a good job of it. He possesses a wonderful way of taking what at the time were much revered literature and speechmaking, and turning them into the most inane, irresponsible drivel one has ever read or heard. The author is particularly unfriendly to pacifists, riot inciters, and advocates of unrestrained sex, drug use, and rock music. Okay, rock 'n' roll ruled, but my views aren't far off from his on the other issues.
What impressed me the most about this book was the author's erudite, witty narrative and his command of the English language. Even though I have no time to get stressed out over what happened 30-40 years ago, I thought this was a great read. That Mr. Kimball's views are right up the conservative alley might leave you either very pleased or horribly distressed. If you happen to think highly of people such as Mailer, Sontag, Leary, Cleaver, or even Tom Hayden, you won't be happy with this book. For others, note the perspective, keep an open mind, and enjoy reading.
88 of 100 people found the following review helpful
Now I Know 7 Jun. 2000
By Joseph Hartmann - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Now I know why our schools, colleges, and moral society are in decay. Roger Kimball's The Long March is a tour de force of the factors responsible for this decline. He pieces together the disparate personalities who were deified at the time as purveyors of a new kind of freedom--freedom without responsibility. What they wrought was a society without standards. "Anything Goes" is their motto but woe to the person who questions the results of this kind of lifestyle. Kimball documents their demand for tolerance of all kinds of malordorous behavior yet they are completely intolerant of any criticism. The results are evident throughout our culture. No other book has shown the sources of this decline with such wit and intelligence. The Long March is essential reading for anyone who cares about preserving American culture.
27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
The Greatest Book I've Ever Read. 4 Dec. 2004
By Bernard Chapin - Published on
Format: Paperback
In my entire life, this is the only book that I've read three times. Upon each perusal it becomes more endearing. The Long March is the most powerful indict of the 1960s and the counterculture that has ever been written. More than any other publication, it is capable of convincing moderates of the need to CONSERVE America and our western tradition as well. Although, I am politically of the same bend as Mr. Kimball, I must admit that this book was not a simple sermon to the parishioners. In my youth, I idolized the beat poets but only knew the true story of their lives after reading his second chapter. The same is true of Marcuse, whose Eros and Civilization along with One-Dimensional Man I devoured and appreciated years ago.

The Long March depicts the full story of the way in which our society was softened up by the likes of Brown, Reich, and Goodman to allow it to blossom into the permanent immaturity of the sixties. An immaturity and a selfishness that still binds us. The pseudo-compassionate hippies brought us multiculturalism and political correctness and currently are the cause of 18 year olds mortgaging their futures by borrowing fortunes in exchange for a Philistine's college education.

As a cultural commentator, Kimball is resolute, spirited, witty, and as observant as an eagle peering down from Mount Rushmore. This is, quite simply, the finest and most important work whose spine I ever cracked.
41 of 48 people found the following review helpful
Farce Repeating Itself as Tragedy 17 July 2000
By John N. Frary - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Roger Kimball has squelched through the reeking, gummy, sunless swamps of Sixties Thought so that those of us with less patience and fortitude might be spared the effort. I remember encountering most of these superannuated juvenile delinquent windbags, ranting, panting, prose- killing German professors and other long-marchers in my youth. Although it seemed both impossible and pointless to read any of them through to the end, I have read enough to assert with confidence that Kimball presents his readers with an accurate account of their works. In doing this he has performed a valuable service, and performed it with clarity, precision, and wit.
Never mind that the scribblings of these critters have long since lost their vogue. This book makes clear the source of the ideas which have filled the vacuum caused by the utter collapse of 1950s liberalism and it also sheds light on the confusion and fatuity of the American Intellectual Establishment. This Establishment now finds it convenient to shrug off Kimball's subjects as mere period figures while avoiding any explanation of their previous celebrity. How, for example, to explain the New Yorker's series on Charles Reich's The Greening of America?-a work with less durability, rationality, or merit than bell-bottom jeans. Yet, they were all celebrated for a space and the curious can confirm this with very little research.
Kimball's conviction that American society is like a rudderless ship largely as a consequence of the cultural nihilism championed by the long-marchers forms the context of his work. Those of us enjoying the country's present prosperity and international predominance (and I admit to being a beneficiary) should give some thought to the simile. A rudderless ship may be surging with power, free of leaks, and loaded with fully functioning mechanical amenities, but it faces a problematic future.
In the meantime the ship's band is a pain in the ear.
24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
What were we thinking ?? 19 Mar. 2001
By Carl Reddick - Published on
Format: Hardcover
As a graduate of the University of California ('71) I lived through those Black Panther Days and the Timothy Leary nights. Everything made sense to us including Tim's run for the governership of California. Mr. Kimball's thought process puts it all into perspective. We were HAD because 'they' were selling sex and fun and we confused this with meaning. Now we sit in the cuture of our own baby-boomer making. Victim whining, fithy lyrics coming from my kid's room, unwatch-able TV, venal politicians and the sniggering of our fellow citizens when we try to speak of honesty, courage, and value in the American experience. Plus the book was wicked funny
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