Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1996. First Printing [Stated]. Hardcover. , 295,  pages. Illustrations. Bibliography. Index. David Burner was professor emeritus of history at the State University of New York at Stony Brook and founder of the Brandywine Press. He received his Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1965. His first monograph—The Politics of Provincialism: The Democratic Party in Transition, 1918–32—enjoyed a warm reception in the scholarly community. His biography Herbert Hoover: A Public Life became the most important contribution to the rehabilitation of the former president’s reputation. Burner viewed him as a more activist president than his GOP predecessors during the 1920s and anything but a laissez-faire purist. In 1997 the Princeton University Press published his Making Peace with the Sixties, a re-examination of the tumultuous decade. One reviewer wrote, “For Burner, the history of the 1960s is the history of the breaking apart of the liberal mentality, particularly with reference to the two intersecting mass actions of the decade, the civil rights and anti-war movements.” To understand that breakup, Burner “examines forces of the era that might have been allies but succeeded in becoming enemies: a civil rights movement that severed into integrationist and black-separatist; a social left and a mainline liberalism that lost a common vocabulary even for arguing with each other; an anti-war activism that divided between advocates of peace and advocates of totalitarian Hanoi.”. David Burner's panoramic history of the 1960s conveys the ferocity of debate and the testing of visionary hopes that still require us to make sense of the decade. He begins with the civil rights and black power movements and then turns to nuanced descriptions of Kennedy and the Cold War, the counterculture and its antecedents in the Beat Generation, the student rebellion, the poverty wars, and the liberals' war in Vietnam. As he considers each topic, Burner advances a provocative argument about how liberalism self-destructed in the 1960s. In his view, the civil rights movement took a wrong turn as it gradually came to emphasize the identity politics of race and ethnicity at the expense of the vastly more important politics of class and distribution of wealth. The expansion of the Vietnam War did force radicals to confront the most terrible mistake of American liberalism, but that they also turned against the social goals of the New Deal was destructive to all concerned. Liberals seemed to rule in politics and in the media, Burner points out, yet they failed to make adequate use of their power to advance the purposes that both liberalism and the left endorsed. And forces for social amelioration splintered into pairs of enemies, such as integrationists and black separatists, the social left and mainline liberalism, and advocates of peace and supporters of a totalitarian Hanoi. Making Peace with the 60s will fascinate baby boomers and their elders, who either joined, denounced, or tried to ignore the counterculture. It will also inform a broad audience of younger people about the famous political and literary figures of the time, the salient moments, and, above all, the powerful ideas that spawned events from the civil rights era to the Vietnam War. Finally, it will help to explain why Americans failed to make full use of the energies unleashed by one of the most remarkable decades of our history. Condition: Very good / Very good.
Keywords: Cold War, Vietnam War, Antiwar Protests, Student Movement, Free Speech Movement, Civil Rights, Allen Ginsberg, Martin Luther King, University of California