If the World Wars defined the first half of the twentieth century, the sixties defined the second half, providing the pivot on which modern times have turned. From popular music to individual liberties, the tastes and convictions of the Western world are indelibly stamped with the impact of that tumultuous decade.
Now one of the world’s foremost historians provides the definitive look at this momentous time. Framing the sixties as a period stretching from 1958 to 1974, Arthur Marwick argues that this long decade ushered in nothing less than a cultural revolution–one that raged most clearly in the United States, Britain, France, and Italy. Writing with wit and verve, he brilliantly recaptures the events and movements that shaped our lives: the rise of a youth subculture across the West; the impact of post Beat novels and New Wave cinema; the sit ins and marches of the civil rights movement; Britain’s surprising rise to leadership in fashion and music; the emerging storm over Vietnam; the Paris student rising of 1968; the new concern for poverty; the growing force of feminism and the gay rights movement; and much more. As Marwick unfolds his vivid narrative, he illuminates this remarkable era–both its origins and its impact. He concludes that it was a time that saw great leaps forward in the arts, in civil rights, and in many other areas of society and politics. But the decade also left deep divisions still felt today.
Written with tremendous force of insight and narrative power, The Sixties promises to be the single most important account of the single most important decade of our times.