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What Really Happened to the 1960s: How Mass Media Culture Failed American Democracy Hardcover – November 18, 2010

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 422 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of Kansas; 1 edition (November 18, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0700617566
  • ISBN-13: 978-0700617562
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.4 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,688,097 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Morgan presents delightfully vivid discussions of iconic and not-so-iconic events and people." --CounterPunch --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From the Back Cover

"This important book provides an illuminating historical overview, critical analysis, and appraisal of the 1960s. Drawing upon historical and media studies, theories of capitalism and democracy, and in-depth study of the era's social movements, Morgan provides an extremely comprehensive and penetrating analysis of the events and aftermath of the 1960s. Based on highly impressive research, his study should appeal to a large audience interested in how that decade's more radical spirit continues to live on in our society."--Douglas Kellner, author of Media Spectacle and the Crisis of Democracy and Media Culture

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Glenn on February 15, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Yes. Get this book. But don't expect titillation of Woodstock and hippies. Read the sub-title, in this case the real title--mass media failed democracy. That is the real deal here and it is scary within limits. Okay, it can get boring, pouring over analyses of which tv networks emphasized what when ML King, Jr. made his famous speech to the garbage collectors. If you have a fetish about the New York Times, don't read this book. Corporate power riddled the impartiality of the news way before Reagan came along and sanitized it.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've known for some years that Morgan is one of the most thorough and accurate historians of the political upheavals and social-political changes of the post-WWII-USA. This book, which is also well written, clear, and a captivating read, confirms this. Morgan makes clear some of the real substance of the 1960s struggles for civil rights, for an end to the war in Vietnam and to the looming nuclear nightmare--and for a freer, more meaningful, self and life--and, even more, he shows how these differed from what the mass media made of them.
And then he goes through, decade by decade, pointing out with surgical precision how a reactive right wing and subequently growing neocon/neolib "center" used financing and takeovers to create "think tanks" and media conglomerates to slowly but steadily (especially from 1980 on--but also before) changed the view of the 1960s, the "legitimate discourse," the bounds of poltical vision and discourse back to those more common in the pre-Great-Society or even pre-New-Deal periods. We all know how television and film images--and those in the books that got published--of "the Sixties" distorted and trivalized the flowerings of this period; we all know how, since 2008, or 2001, or 1980, the "1 percent," the "oligarchy," the "ruling class" or "megacorporate structure," have taken over our economy and government functions and the common-wealth. Morgan, in this book, shows us how this was done. You will never again say "Oh those Sixties protestors, they were just hippies who faded off when the fight got real" or "So--those old dudes--they didn't do anything (yawn)" after you read this brilliant book.
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By Frederick G. Dillen on May 25, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
For those of us who lived in those times and were shaped by them into progressives of one sort or another, Morgan has made a invaluable reflection upon, and re-invigoration of, the truth of those times by looking at and through the scrim of myth and manipulation with which the mass media have decorated and sold that truth. 50 years. Yeah, for some of us, this is our redeeming book.
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More About the Author

My friends, family and colleagues know me as Ted Morgan (though unlike that other author (who is both French and prolific) with the pen name of Ted Morgan, I was given this name at birth). I grew up in South Hadley, Massachusetts, went to Oberlin College from 1964 to 1968 --a time that had considerable impact on my political perspective-- did my graduate work at Brandeis University from 1970 to 1975, taught for a year at Oberlin College (1975-76) and have been a professor of Political Science at Lehigh University since fall, 1976. While I have taught about 17 different classes at Lehigh, I have taught classes on Social Movements and Legacies of the 1960s, and Propaganda, Media, and American Politics for some 25 years. In recent years, I have taught a class on Organizing for Democracy. My writing and my teaching, as well as my active engagement in mostly local and regional issues, has been informed by my passionate belief in democracy --real democracy.