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From the bestselling author of COD, SALT, and THE BASQUE HISTORY OF THE WORLD comes his most ambitious work to date - a singular and definitive look at this pivotal year in history.
Mark Kurlansky is author of Cod- A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World (winner of the Glenfidish's Best Food Book Award), The Basque History of the World, Salt- A World History and a short story collection The White Man in the Tree (all published by Cape and Vintage). He lives in New York City with his wife and daughter.
It was the year of the Prague Spring, student riots in Paris, the Mexico City Olympics where two American medal winners gave a Black Power salute, and the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, at which police clashed violently with protestors. Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy were assassinated, the Vietnam War had divided the nation, and television was there to capture and broadcast it all. (LJ 1/04) (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
By any measure, it was a remarkable year. Mentioning the Tet offensive, the My Lai massacre, the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy, the Democratic convention in Chicago, and the Prague Spring and its backlash gives only the merest impression of how eventful and transformative the year must have felt at the time. As Kurlansky (Cod, Salt, etc.) has made the phrase "changed the world" a necessary component of subtitles for books about mundane objects, his choice to focus on a year that so "rocked" the world is appropriate. To read this book is to be transported to a very specific past at once more naive and more mature than today; as Kurlansky puts it, it was a time of "shocking modernism" and "quaint innocence," a combination less contradictory than it first appears. The common genesis of demonstrations occurring in virtually every Western nation was the war in Vietnam. Without shortchanging the roles of race and age, Kurlansky shrewdly emphasizes the rise of television as a near-instantaneous (and less packaged than today) conduit of news as key to the year's unfolding. To his credit, Kurlansky does not overdo Berkeley at the expense of Paris or Warsaw or Mexico City. The gains and costs of the new ethic of mass demonstration are neatly illustrated by the U.S. presidential campaign: the young leftists helped force the effective abdication of President Lyndon Johnson-and were rewarded with "silent majority" spokesman Richard Nixon. 1968 is a thorough and loving (perhaps a bit too loving of the boomer generation) tapestry-or time capsule. Agent, Charlotte Sheedy. (Jan.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
"A riveting, evocative, entertaining read." * Observer * "Eminently readable... Will bring a flood of memories of an exceptional year in the exceptional 1960s" * The Economist * "An expansive, explosive account" * Esquire * "Kurlansky is a very superior journalist: diligent in his research, quirkily original in his insights, swift and clear in his storytelling. 1968 is a riveting, evocative, entertaining read" * Observer *