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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 6/24/16

Clara Bingham Revisits the 1969-1970 Year of Revolution (REVIEW ESSAY)

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Duluth, Minnesota (OpEdNews) June 24, 2016: President Harry S. Truman (1884-1972) was so bent out of shape by World War II that he dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945 in an effort to end the war.

Years later, certain radical anti-war Americans, who were decidedly younger than Truman was in August 1945, were, like Truman in 1945, so bent out of shape by the Vietnam War (1961-1975) that they bombed certain American targets in an effort to end the war. But their violence did not end the war. However, it did for understandable reasons contribute to then growing anti-60s backlash.

For a scholarly account of the partly understandable anti-60s over-reaction, which continues to this day, see Philip Jenkins' Decade of Nightmares: The End of the Sixties and the Making of Eighties America (Oxford University Press, 2006).

Focusing on the crucial period from August 1969 to September 1970, Clara Bingham, a journalist born in 1963 in Louisville and now based in New York City, arrays relevant statements by various participants she interviewed between 2012 and 2015 for her new book Witness to the Revolution: Radicals, Resisters, Vets, Hippies, and the Year America Lost Its Mind and Found its Soul (Random House, 2016).

Compared to President Truman when he dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, most of the people interviewed in Bingham's new book were comparatively young in 1969-1970, as their years of birth show (adapted here from pages 535-553):

1927: Jack Cipperly

1930: Tom McCarthy, and Raymond "Ray" Price, Jr.

1931: Daniel Ellsberg

1932: Richard Moose (d. 2015)

1933: Robert "Bob" Giles

1936: Ralph Metzner, and Richard Reeves

1937: Jane Fonda, Seymour Hersh, and Roger Morris

1938: Morton Halperin, Michael Kennedy (d. 2016), and Howard Wolf

1939: Tom Hayden, Egil "Bud" Krogh, Anthony "Tony" Lake, and Julius Lester

1940: Tod Ensign (d. 2014), John Hartmann, and Thelma Schoonmaker

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Thomas James Farrell is professor emeritus of writing studies at the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD). He started teaching at UMD in Fall 1987, and he retired from UMD at the end of May 2009. He was born in 1944. He holds three degrees from Saint Louis University (SLU): B.A. in English, 1966; M.A.(T) in English 1968; higher education, 1974. On May 16, 1969, the editors of the SLU student newspaper named him Man of the Year, an honor customarily conferred on an administrator or a faculty member, not on a graduate student -- nor on a woman up to that time. He is the proud author of the book (more...)

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