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The Long Sixties: From 1960 to Barack Obamaby Tom Hayden
Synopses & Reviews
Barack Obama would not be possible without the Sixties, Tom Hayden writes in his unique and compelling new book. Obama was conceived because of changing mores on interracial marriage; was electable because of the civil rights movement and voting rights laws; and was successful because of a new social movement that applied participatory democracy online and door to door. Hayden shows that movements throughout history triumph over Machiavellians, gaining social reforms while leaving both revolutionaries and reactionaries frustrated. Only the assassinations of the Kennedys and Martin Luther King prevented the Sixties from ending with a progressive presidency propelled into power by social movement activism, Hayden says. But the Sixties did leave a critical print on America, from civil rights laws to the birth of the environmental movement, and forced open the political process to women and people of color. Hayden portrays the Reagan and Bush eras as counter-movements against the Sixties which ultimately failed, and the Obama presidency as a delayed achievement. Chicago's Grant Park was consciously chosen for Obama's 2008 victory celebration, according to campaign manager David Axelrod, to symbolically overcome the damage done to American idealism forty years before. Hayden's carefully researched history includes formidable, if sometimes forgotten, coverage of Sixties achievements as well as a valuable dateline for activists, journalists and historians as the fiftieth anniversary of every episode of that decade approaches. While accepting President Obama's centrist positioning, Hayden reminds the new president that the peace movement was critical to his 2008 victory and only a radical populism will make his economic recovery, green jobs and health care promises come to fruition.
Book News Annotation:
In this compelling book, political activist Hayden reminds us of the continuing social and political legacy of the Sixties. Hayden outlines a repeating historic pattern in which movements triumph over their era's political establishments, achieving social reforms while frustrating both revolutionaries and reactionaries. The Sixties fit this pattern, opening the political system to women and people of color, and leaving behind civil rights laws and the environmental movement and, at the same time, pulling back from leftist revolution and right-wing reaction. Only the assassinations of the Kennedys and Martin Luther King prevented the Sixties from ending with a progressive presidency propelled into power by social movement activism, Hayden argues, and the decade's achievement could not be rolled back even by the "Reagan Revolution" and the presidency of George W. Bush. This carefully researched and very accessible book should appeal to a wide range of readers. Annotation ©2010 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Barack Obama would not be possible without the 1960s, Hayden writes in his compelling new book. The author reminds the president that the peace movement was critical to his 2008 victory and only a radical populism will make his economic recovery and health-care promises come to fruition.
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