Boom! Voices of the Sixties: Personal Reflections on the '60s and Today, by Tom Brokaw (Read by the author)
The title may imply the sound of a large explosion, but it really refers to the birth of the era of the baby boomers. Noted television news anchor and best-selling author Tom Brokaw was working as a reporter in the late 50s, so he was perfectly poised to observe the happenings of the sixties and the years that followed. Using his personal experience and the material gleaned from interviewing a wide cross-section of people who lived through the time, he tells a story that could fill history books. He defines "the sixties" as roughly the time between 1963 and 1974, or the years between the assassination of President Kennedy and the end of the war in Viet Nam.
Brokaw focuses on the year 1968, which he calls a pivotal year in our country's history. Changes were occurring in many areas of American life, and the baby boomers were responsible for either causing or for calling attention to, many of the changes. They were in the center of anti-war protests and civil rights marches, and they embraced the new culture of recreational drug use and the sexual revolution. Things like divorce and extramarital sex, which had been taboo in the 50's, became almost fashionable in the 70's. We went from the 50s days of "go along and get along" to the 70s days of "if it feels good, do it."
Boom! reads like a novel with a fast-moving plot and fascinating characters. It is a great introduction to this extraordinary time period for those who were born after the sixties and an insightful analysis for those who lived through it. Brokaw's conversational style of narration provides an intimate listening experience. You feel like you're sitting in your living room watching the evening news. Major events of the sixties, like the assassinations of John and Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr., race riots, anti-war demonstrations, college sit-ins, the feminist movement, and Woodstock are described through interviews with the players and observers of the actual events.
Various politicians discuss their involvement
in particular movements, and noted writers comment on pop
culture trends like the hippies' "flower power"
and Beatlemania. Information and insight -- it's a powerful
combination. Tom Brokaw provides both in this very enjoyable
and highly recommended audio book.