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A Generation Divided: The New Left, the New Right, and the 1960s

A Generation Divided: The New Left, the New Right, and the 1960s
Author: Rebecca E. Klatch
ISBN 13: 9780520217140
ISBN 10: 520217144
Edition: N/A
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication Date: 1999-10-20
Format: Paperback
Pages: 400
List Price: $36.95

"A must read for anyone interested in the history of the '60s, the unfolding of its social movements, and the search for and discovery of identity among the young activists of the period."—Arlene Kaplan Daniels, Northwestern University

"A very useful, almost encyclopedic rendition of two vital incipient movements in a very important decade in the social history of the nation."—Troy Duster, author of Backdoor to Eugenics

"A richly textured, fascinating comparison of Students for a Democratic Society on the left and Young Americans for Freedom on the right that reshapes how we understand the political generation of 'the sixties.' Klatch's brilliant and nuanced study of the life histories and ideological values of these political activists is required reading for anyone interested in social movement activism and the social history of American politics."—Kathleen Blee, author of Women of the Klan

"An exemplary piece of scholarship that greatly enriches our knowledge of the 1960s, even as it underscores the era's continuing influence on contemporary American society. But my admiration for Klatch's book extends well beyond its specific contribution to our knowledge about the 1960s. It is also the very best book on the social psychological and social/cultural dynamics of individual activism I have ever read. Need more reasons to buy the book? Try this: It is a groundbreaking study of women's lives in the midst of the gender revolution. You get the point. This is an important and engaging book."—Doug McAdam, author of Freedom Summer

"Rebecca Klatch writes about the sixties, neither to praise nor to condemn, but to understand. Her decision to compare SDSers and YAFers was inspired, and we can all learn much from her wonderfully sympathetic sociological skills."—Alan Wolfe, author of Whose Keeper? Social Science and Moral Obligation

Kirkus Reviews

A thoughtful study of some forgotten players in the Time of Torment: the young ideologues of the dawning radical right. Radical, sociologist Klatch (Univ. of Calif., San Diego) observes, is the operative word. The young men (and a few women) who made up the conservative Young Americans for Freedom (YAF), a group inspired by Barry Goldwater's 1964 bid for the presidency, were the children of privilege; in this respect they mirrored their counterparts on the left, the young members of Students for a Democratic Society. But rather than preserve the Republican status quo, they broke from the politics of their elders at many critical junctures. Notable among them, in the later 1960s, was YAF's growing criticism of the Vietnam War and especially of military conscription, which they believed "violated the most fundamental principle of individual liberty." When their older conservative peers demanded that they endorse the Republican commitment to military victory in Vietnam, many of the YAF's members shifted to a libertarian, even anarchist position. In doing so, they found, they had more in common with the extreme elements of the left than they did with the likes of William F. Buckley, Jr. and Richard M. Nixon. Whereas, when the war finally ended, many leftists entered academic or professional careers, continuing the fight for social justice by becoming child psychologists, family-practice physicians, or teachers, the young radical rightists took their fight straight into the political realm. Some of them, Klatch writes, scored great successes by organizing the state-by-state movement that defeated the Equal Rights Amendment. Others went to Washington-area think tanks, where theyorchestrated the so-called Republican Revolution of 1994. And a surprising number of them, Klatch notes, went into journalism, putting the lie to the charge that the press is a liberal conspiracy. Solid research and good writing make this a book of interest to veterans of the '60s, as well as to students of social science and history. (38 b&w photos, not seen)