Saturday, January 21, 2017

Eve of Destruction Revisited?




I just finished reading 'Eve of Destruction' by James Patterson which is about the transitional year of 1965. It is a great read.

 At the beginning of 1965, the U.S. seemed on the cusp of a golden age. President Johnson, who was an extraordinarily skillful manager of Congress, succeeded in securing an avalanche of Great Society legislation, including Medicare, immigration reform, and a powerful Voting Rights Act. But the sense of harmony dissipated over the course of the year. 1965 marked the birth of the tumultuous era we now know as "The Sixties," when American society and culture underwent a major transformation. 

Turmoil erupted in the American South early in 1965, as police attacked civil rights demonstrators in Selma, Alabama. Many black leaders, outraged, began to lose faith in nonviolent and interracial strategies of protest. The U.S. rushed into a deadly war in Vietnam, inciting rebellion at home. Racial violence exploded in the Watts area of Los Angeles. The six days of looting and arson that followed shocked many Americans and cooled their enthusiasm for the president's remaining initiatives. As the national mood darkened, the country became deeply divided. By the end of 1965, the political scene was becoming redefined as developments in popular music were enlivening the Left.

The title of the book is taken from the Barry McGuire hit song "Eve of Destruction" released in 1965. The song captured the mood of much of the country. It became a controversial hit dividing America. The song was the first 'marriage' between rock music and protest. It signified that a mass movement among American youth 'was upon us', as Patterson expressed it.

After observing the Women's March on Washington (and in large and small cities around America and around the globe) for social justice, peace, and equality one day after the inauguration of Donald Trump, one cannot escape the parallels and similarities to the tumultuous, transitional, polarizing, uncertain times of today. Listen above to the 'classic'.

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