"Now, in Boom!, one of America's premier journalists gives us an epic portrait of another defining era in America as he brings to life the tumultuous Sixties, a fault line in American history. The voices and stories of both famous people and ordinary citizens come together as Brokaw takes us on a memorable journey through a remarkable time, exploring how individual lives and the national mindset were affected by a controversial era and showing how the aftershocks of the Sixties continue to resound in our lives today. In the reflections of a generation, Brokaw also discovers lessons that might guide us in the years ahead."--BOOK JACKET.
It's 1968 that really struck Brokaw as a year of greatest significance. It was the year of the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy; the year a Republican took over the White House and the year that political protests reached its most violent of heights. Because 2008 marks the 40th anniversary of this year, Brokaw sought out a "virtual reunion" of sorts - interviewing dozens and dozens of people who were movers and shakers during the Sixties, including household names such as Warren Beatty, Gloria Steinem, Reverend Andrew Young and Kris Kristofferson. Brokaw also included men and women who embraced the new freedoms from this era and became successful in their pursuits: Dr. Judith Ronin who became the first woman president of an Ivy League college, attorney Jeffry House who fled to Canada to avoid the draft, and Dr. Shelby Steele, a prominent college professor and renowned speaker of black-white relations.
Why assemble such a cast? For Brokaw, America in 2008 is approaching a cultural and political apex, much like our country did in 1968. He writes "...many of the debates about the political, cultural and socioeconomic meaning of the Sixties are still as lively and passionate and unresolved as they ever were...The presidential election of 2008 in many respects may be an echo chamber of the election of 1968, with the lessons learned or ignored in Vietnam applied to the war in Iraq."
And in his exploration of the political, cultural and socioeconomic debates and their relevancy to our modern times is where Brokaw really shined in his book. His selection of interviewees, while admittedly the cream of the crop of the Sixties (very few of his subjects, for example, did not have a college degree and most were graduates of America's finest schools), and their bearing on 2008 was well-connected and well-conceived. It's probably not a coincidence that Presidential hopefuls Senators John McCain, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama all have a place in this book.
I would recommend Boom! Voices of the Sixties to readers who enjoy contemporary history, especially fans of Tom Brokaw's other books. For others, this book may help them learn lessons from our past to help impact changes for our future. 2008 is a crucial year for my country, and I hope all of us embrace this opportunity to add a figurative "boom" to 2008.
I loved the book. I have highlights and tabs throughout because there were quotes I wanted to remember and things that I didn't know from the past that I didn't want to lose track of. I recommend this book to anyone wanting to learn a little more about our history, the history of the boomers, and anyone who might want to know what some of those boomers think about that time in history now given what they know about where we've come. And what do they think about where our country is today?
Boom! Voices of the Sixties Personal Reflections on the Sixties and Today
Does the book tell us ultimately what the '60s meant? Does it explain the continuing impact today? I don't think the book does a good job in this sense but I think we all have to make our own sense of those years and the book helps with that.