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The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Sixties (The Politically Incorrect Guides) Paperback – August 11, 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Regnery Publishing (August 11, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596985720
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596985728
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 7.2 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #786,975 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Has any decade been more mythologized than the 1960s? I doubt it. Read Jonathan Leaf, who corrects and debunks the conventional wisdom and who also teaches us interesting and important things about that time, and ours. --William Kristol, editor, Weekly Standard

Jonathan Leaf almost makes the 60s worth it in this merciless debunking of the myths of our decade of shame. Fun, informed, and above all valuable. --Rich Lowry, editor, National Review --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

From the Inside Flap

When you think of the 1960s, what images come to mind? Most people think of rock music and psychedelic drugs, youthful rebellion and draft dodging, long hair and protest marches. But is that really what the sixties were all about?

Absolutely not, says Jonathan Leaf. In The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Sixties, Leaf busts the biggest myth of all about that decade: that it was defined by radical politics and cultural upheaval. From popular music to college politics to fashion, he demonstrates that throughout the 1960s America remained a deeply conservative country, with disturbances and protests confined to a small minority of agitators who are now wrongly hailed in our politically correct textbooks as the dominant voice of their generation.

Mainstream America resisted the encroachments of the counterculture, Leaf shows. It was the Vietnam veterans, not the antiwar radicals, who expressed the values held throughout most of the country. What's more, contrary to popular belief, the vaunted sexual revolution never occurred in the sixties, and rock 'n' roll was not king. In this rollicking, provocative book, you'll discover that in the 1960s:

* Most college students rejected radical politics
* President Kennedy was not the dashing, progressive hero of liberal lore
* The economic condition of blacks became much worse after the passage of landmark civil rights legislation
* Manned space flights were a politicized boondoggle

If you think Woodstock and the Acid Tests were events that defined a generation, you'll be singing a new tune after reading The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Sixties--and it won't be The Grateful Dead.


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Customer Reviews

Great interesting book.
TERRIE E. OREGAN
This latest work by an amazing playwrite is a daring genre departure, and one that has produced a Golden Fleece.
A Reader
We knew this at the time and I recall thinking it was a good thing.
Jonathan Rubinstein

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

61 of 64 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on July 31, 2009
Format: Paperback
For decades I've been telling people that America in the "sixties" were not what the media depicts as the sixties, but a much more complicated place - that people with long hair (like I had) walking along the road in a place like Vermont in 1969 (the sixties didn't get more "late" than 1969) had beer cans thrown at them, where in most parts of the country and for most years of the decade, the "sixties" was no more than a ripple disturbing the surface.
Leaf's book is invaluable at providing the facts and figures and anecdotes that show that I was right - that I wasn't dreaming. Of course it's an immense subject, but Leaf writes authortitavely and wittily about a well-chosen range of subjects.
The highest praise I can give it is that my little girls, aged 13 and 15, have taken it up to their room and are poring over it - and laughing over what their school teachers (too young to have experienced the decade) have been solemnly misinforming them about for years.
Get it and save your children's sanity and intellect - and if you are a child of the sixties, the soundness of your own memory.
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43 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Carl on August 2, 2009
Format: Paperback
If this Robin Williams line is true, so is its corollary: If you where there, you don't really remember it. Baby Boomers all were there and in too many cases they were formed by that decade and what they recall of it. And it turns out they really don't remember it. As long as the Largest Generation retains the commanding heights of much cultural and academic production, that is a problem.

Jonathan Leaf's The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Sixties is part of the solution. In 13 short, yet devastating, chapters covering everything from the sexual revolution to movies to Camelot to the nascent conservative movement, he demonstrates conclusively that everything most people think they know when asked about the Sixties is wrong.

Each of the phenomena described as universal Sixties experiences either occurred principally in earlier decades (e.g., civil rights, feminism), later decades (e.g., rock and roll), existed only a fringe or elite phenomenon (e.g., hippies and Haight-Ashbury), or is remembered in such a distorted or incomplete way as to approach falsehood (e.g., the moon landing, Camelot, many more). Just learning the facts about these well justifies buying and reading this book.

But even readers familiar the actual events of the Sixties will find reading rewarding. First, there is the author's erudite and accessible style which will occasion more than frequent chuckles even when recounting familiar facts. Second, the book is filled with facets and sidelights which will come as enlightening surprises even to those consider themselves well-informed.

For example, Malcolm X was a gay hustler--did that chapter of his Autobiography get cut?
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19 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Sarah Funke Butler on August 7, 2009
Format: Paperback
I always wondered how my parents managed to miss the Sixties. According to Jonathan Leaf, they were in very good company. Easy to read, fun, disturbing, and provocative, PIC '60s offers a counter weight for those of us who didn't live through America's best promoted, least experienced decade.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful By John Craig on August 2, 2009
Format: Paperback
This is the kind of book I enjoy most, the kind that really helps crystallize my opinions on matters I had had a lot of vague, disorganized thoughts about before. As someone who actually lived through the Sixties (and has a certain sentimental attachment to them, mostly because they represent my youth), this book actually brought back a lot of memories, not all of them good. With the passage of time, I had forgotten the scuzziness and insanity of those years, and the mindlessness of radicalism which was fashionable at the time. Reading the political demands of the Black Panthers (the release of all black prisoners form jail), and the pronouncements of some of the feminists (all heterosexual sex is rape) brought it all back home. I found as I read the book that I was actually reliving some of those scenes, and political events, or at least my youthful impression of them. Leaf has done a lot to correct some of those youthful (mis)impressions.

The book was an education. I had known about the Altamont debacle before, but I hadn't known exactly WHY it happened. I had heard about JFK's ill health, but I hadn't known the details. I had vaguely sensed that the radicals were socialists, but I hadn't known exactly what their connections with hard core communists were. I had heard that the Black Panthers were a bunch of thugs, but hadn't known the details of their crimes. I hadn't been aware of the philosophical differences between Friedan and Steinem. I had known that the Beatles' music had stood the test of time better than many other rock groups, but I hadn't known WHY (the classical music training of their producer, George Martin, made for the much more creative arrangements on their songs).
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan Rubinstein on August 2, 2009
Format: Paperback
I recommend this to every concerned American citizen under the age of 50. As we begin to grapple with the reality that the economic and political model which has been our reality for fifty years is kaput , this brilliant diatribe will stimulate you to think about what each of us can do to recreate an America that can stand on its own feet. We better hurry.
Jonathan Leaf is unsparing in his assault on the mythology of the 60s promoted relentlessly by people who were not there, by people who were there and misrepresent what they did and saw. The most powerful motive behind the mythologizing of the 60s, looking back now, I believe arose from a desire to escape the horrible realities revealed by the assassinations, the riots, the personal violence in the inner cities that spread unchecked relentlessly into the 70s. (I was robbed four times at gun point in the 1980s in Manhattan, once in my bedroom.)
Leaf reminds us what a terrible president JFK was, but more important he details how the Democrats in Illinois stole the election. We knew this at the time and I recall thinking it was a good thing. Then came the Bay of Pigs which turned all of us on the "soft left" against him. The real left at the time was composed of the children of banned Communists, fellow travelers, and professional agitators employed by the Russians and Chinese. Those on the soft left were active in movements to promote world government and to ban nuclear weapons. When Kennedy involved us in a nuclear confrontation with Russia centered on establishing missile bases in Cuba, we went into active opposition. None of us knew where Vietnam was but we opposed the buildup there and when Johnson turned it into a major war SDS became a name.
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