Originally published 05/08/2013
Jeffrey Aaron Snyder: Review of James Patterson's "The Eve of Destruction: How 1965 Changed America" (Basic Books, 2012)
Jeffrey Aaron Snyder is a historian of education who writes about the twentieth-century United States. He teaches at Carleton College.When did “the Sixties” begin? The answer, James Patterson says, is 1965, after which “life in the United States would never be the same again.” When President Lyndon Baines Johnson lit the national Christmas tree in December of 1964, he declared that “these are the most hopeful times in all the years since Christ was born in Bethlehem.” One year later, Watts was still smoldering while thousands of demonstrators gathered in front of the White House to chant “Hey, hey, LBJ! How many kids have you killed today?” The Eve of Destruction: How 1965 Changed America tells the absorbing story of how we got from the promise of Bethlehem to the nightmares of Vietnam and race riots.