America entered the post-World War II era with a set of assumptions that were both widely held and fundamental to our identity. We believed in the security, decency, and legitimacy of our leaders, in the vigor and continuing health of our economy, in our incomparable military strength, in our limitless resources, and in our innate capacity for peaceful existence among the races. One by one, these assumptions were shattered by the Decade of Shocks.
We found that we can’t win every war, that our cities can burn, that our children can reject what we have built, that the racial divide continues despite efforts to erase it, that terrorists can strike anywhere, and that our leaders may be shot before our eyes – or betray us behind our backs.
Organized around the categories of shocks to the body politic – the assassinations, the riots, the economic swings, the black, youth, and women’s movements, the escalating price of technology – this book provides a vividly detailed account of the years of seismic change, and an analysis that shows how and why America came out of the Decade of Shocks polarized and prey to a crisis mentality.
“Alongside a highly readable, sensitive survey of a tumultuous decade, Shachtman offers an analysis that burrows deep into our national character.” Publishers Weekly
“With perception and detail, Shachtman replays … modern history from the assassination of President John F. Kennedy to the resignation of President Richard Nixon …. A disquieting but functional view of the United States during the most tumultuous era of our time.” Milwaukee Sentinel
“A vivid, thoughtful and evocative piece of popular history.” Morris Dickstein, Columbia University.
“An impressive work.” Henry Steele Commager.
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