Friday, December 11, 2015


Book 47 of my 2015 Reading Challenge
read from July 6 - August 2

Boom! Voices of the Sixties Personal Reflections on the '60s and Today
by Tom Brokaw

Summary (via Goodreads)
In The Greatest Generation, his landmark bestseller, Tom Brokaw eloquently evoked for America what it meant to come of age during the Great Depression and the Second World War. 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. 
Boom! One minute it was Ike and the man in the grey flannel suit, and the next minute it was time to “turn on, tune in, drop out.” While Americans were walking on the moon, Americans were dying in Vietnam. Nothing was beyond question, and there were far fewer answers than before.
Published as the fortieth anniversary of 1968 approaches, Boom! gives us what Brokaw sees as a virtual reunion of some members of “the class of ’68,” offering wise and moving reflections and frank personal remembrances about people’s lives during a time of high ideals and profound social, political, and individual change. What were the gains, what were the losses? Who were the winners, who were the losers? As they look back decades later, what do members of the Sixties generation think really mattered in that tumultuous time, and what will have meaning going forward? 
Race, war, politics, feminism, popular culture, and music are all explored here, and we learn from a wide range of people about their lives. Tom Brokaw explores how members of this generation have gone on to bring activism and a Sixties mindset into individual entrepreneurship today. We hear stories of how this formative decade has led to a recalibrated perspective–on business, the environment, politics, family, our national existence. 
Remarkable in its insights, profoundly moving, wonderfully written and reported, this revealing portrait of a generation and of an era, and of the impact of the 1960s on our lives today, lets us be present at this reunion ourselves, and join in these frank conversations about America then, now, and tomorrow.

My Opinion
I had this book on my 'to-read' list forever and finally got around to reading it after seeing it on the "endangered" shelf at the library (the final spot books that haven't been checked out recently go before getting weeded).  

If they asked me now that I've read it if it should be kept, I'm not sure what I would say.  It was well-written but there was so much speculation from him and others about the 2008 election, especially the primary between Obama and Clinton, that it's surprisingly outdated for a history book about the '60s.  That also led to it being a little boring since I already knew how that played out.

I was surprised to learn that Karl Rove isn't a college graduate.  And I also learned that Newt Gingrich met his first wife, seven years older than him, when she was his high school teacher.

A Few Quotes from the Book
"The thing the Sixties did was to show us the possibilities and the responsibility that we all had. It wasn't the answer. It just gave us a glimpse of the possibility." ~ John Lennon

"But the larger message of the Sixties was really liberating. African-Americans, by God, you could stand up and demand your rights like Dr. King inspired you to do. Women, you don't have to stay two steps behind. Choose your own life, make your own decisions. I think that was great for America." ~ Hillary Rodham Clinton

"I want to be an American who is black and can speak to the whole population. I don't want to be a 'black leader', but now that I've made it, I want to continue to be black. I don't want anyone to think anything else, because too many guys died and worked like the devil, and they could have been chairman of the Joint Chiefs, but they never got there because of the way the country used to be." ~ Colin Powell

"Tommy Smothers laments the fact that what little social satire survives is now mostly on cable, and he hates the trend toward what he calls "foaming at the mouth". He says, "We always attacked policies, not people. You can talk all you want about freedom of speech, but it is freedom of hearing that counts."
  He's critical of the news media for not giving more emphasis to the protesters at the beginning of the Iraq War. But most of all, he's puzzled by what happened to the Sixties generation. "What a waste of energy. Now they just all sit around and let this happen." "

"[Leonard Riggio]  is waiting for the next Sixties-style movement, when people once again start participating in debates, "intellectually and spiritually - even when they're on the outskirts. We're not participants anymore," Riggio worries. "We're witnesses." "

No comments:

Post a Comment