Sunday, November 11, 2007

Newsweek – The Year That Made Us Who We Are

1968? Ancient history. Not so much. I wuz there. — LD

Newsweek Magazine Looks Back
at One of the Defining Years of the 1960s:
A Turbulent Period in American History

NEW YORK -- "There was at the end of 1968 an event that remains an inspirational symbol for the challenges ahead. For the Sixties were also the glory years of the American space program, and of astronauts such as Captain Jim Lovell," writes former NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw, in his forthcoming book, "BOOM! Voices of the Sixties," which is excerpted in the current issue of Newsweek. "The big goal was leaving Earth's atmosphere and landing on the moon, to keep the pledge President Kennedy had made at Rice University on September 12, 1962."

Brokaw writes that the three astronauts of Apollo 8 trained all year for the mission, which would have the spacecraft orbiting the moon on Christmas Eve, 1968. "When I met Lovell at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago-where he helped organize an elaborate exhibit commemorating the flight-I asked if the astronauts had been aware of all that was going on outside of NASA that year- the riots, the assassinations, the antiwar protests. 'We were all senior military people,' he said, 'and we were so intent on our project we put all of that aside. We did talk about the Tet Offensive in Vietnam, and we worried the cost of the war would eat into the space program.'"

"Lovell says that even though he wasn't paying too much attention, he thought the culture was disintegrating. 'My background,' he says, 'was more patriotic. Listening to your elders, taking direction, trying to be a leader. The hippie movement sort of soured me'," Brokaw writes.

The excerpt is part of the November 19 cover package, "1968: The Year That Made Us Who We Are" (on newsstands Monday, November 12). Senior Writer and Political Correspondent Jonathan Darman reports that while the 1968 election is four decades old, we're still rehashing that moment-that era-in the 2008 contest. Barack Obama was born in the 1960s, but is not of them. Such is the constant promise-I am not the '60s-of his presidential campaign-heartfelt, but ultimately hard to believe. Just look at the gray-haired '60s idealists inside the senator's own brain trust who see him as the fulfillment of 40 years' worth of hard work. John McCain is also the '60s. McCain knows what Obama should have learned by now: the '60s are impossible to escape. They will define the 2008 presidential election, just as they have defined American politics, and American culture, for the past 40 years, he writes.

Also in the cover package, Newsweek looks back at one of the defining years of the 1960s-1968-a turbulent period in American history:

* Editor-at-Large Evan Thomas writes that in a year of tumult, one five-day span in early spring 1968 was disorder distilled. Lyndon Johnson's presidency was collapsing. Robert Kennedy had openly announced his intention to reclaim the throne in the memory of his brother. The year culminated in the assassination of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
* Contributing Editor Ellis Cose's essay recounts the personal impetus" ... that shook my world, upended my life and turned me into a writer," from the July 1966 Chicago Riots to the April 1968 assassination of Dr. King.
* Senior Editor Jerry Adler writes that 1968 wasn't the only year that changed everything in America. Other years, like 1908-this was America's year of destiny-were equally significant and are jostling for starring roles in history.
* Science Columnist Sharon Begley writes that in the spring of 1968 the Beatles traveled to the Maharishi's ashram in northern India to mediate and brought Eastern worship back to the West, most markedly the practice of meditation. Now, some four decades later, meditation is widely accepted within the scientific community as a beneficial practice.
* Senior Editor Barbara Kantrowitz explores feminism and sexual politics of 1968 when women dumped symbols of female oppression-girdles, steno pads, and stilettos-into a "freedom trash can." Bras went in, too, but none were burned, in the midst of the infamous and symbolic protest staged outside the Miss America pageant. Kantrowitz examines where the fight stands now, talks with the lead protester and Miss America 1968.
* Senior Editor David Gates writes that although the times they were a changin', in the arts, only music kept pace. Despite all the potentially rich tension and upheaval, 1968 didn't produce much fiction, film or art worth remembering.

The package also includes a photo essay by photographer Nigel Parry featuring people who spoke out-and stood out-in the monumental events of

(Read complete cover story at - 1968: The Year That Everything Changed - Tom Brokaw Book Excerpt

SOURCE: Newsweek

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