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1968 with Tom Brokaw (History Channel)

4.0 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

1968 was a year of extraordinary tragedy, triumph, and transformation. The assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy failed to halt the juggernaut of the Civil Rights Movement. Richard Nixon was elected President following riots at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. As rockets rained down on fighting men in Vietnam, a NASA rocket carried men into lunar orbit. From music to politics to issues of feminism, race, and war, 1968 left almost no facet of American life unchanged.

Now, legendary award-winning journalist and best-selling author Tom Brokaw commemorates the revolutionary events of this pivotal year in a feature-length special, based on his book, Boom!: Voices of the Sixties Personal Reflections on the '60s and Today. Drawing upon his decades of experience, Brokaw revisits the scenes of these iconic events, pairing provocative voices from the past and present to explore how these 40-year-old moments still impact our lives today.

DVD Features: Interviews with Tom Brokaw


Actor Dennis Hopper is credited with the adage "If you can remember the '60s, you weren't there." As Roger Ebert once observed, Hopper (or whomever) was no doubt referring to the late 1960s. But even so, 1968 was a hard year to forget. Pat Buchanan, one of the more prominent talking heads in this efficient, but hardly radical History Channel documentary, calls it probably the worst and most divisive year in the nation's history (our vote: 1969, when the Chicago Cubs fell from first place in a late-season collapse). But that's a typically harsh view from the former Nixon speechwriter, who coined the phrase "the Silent Majority." Others offer a fonder look back. Something of a companion to Tom Brokaw's book, Boom! Personal Reflections on the '60s, 1968 focuses on this "historic year," one rife with turmoil, tragedy, and upheaval. Brokaw guides viewers through the milestone events (the assassinations of the Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, the ongoing Vietnam War and the growing protest movement, Lyndon Johnson withdrawing from the presidential race, the Chicago Democratic Convention).

Interviews with a wide spectrum of voices offer a personal perspective on what was happening here. They include a glib Arlo Guthrie, whose classic Alice's Restaurant crystallized growing anti-war ferment, an earnest Bruce Springsteen, and Andrew Young, who was with Dr. King when he was gunned down. An inspired pairing is kindred spirits Tommy Smothers, who, with his brother, Dick, brought the counterculture into America's living rooms with The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, and Jon Stewart of The Daily Show. But most effective are the ordinary citizens whose lives took extraordinary turns in 1968. We meet an army nurse and wounded Vietnam vet, who married and now offer counseling to injured vets of the war in Iraq. David Smith, founder of San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury Free Clinic, decries the destructive legacy of drugs. The program ends, as did 1968, on a moment of hope and triumph as the Apollo 8 astronauts circle the moon, and newly elected President Nixon promises to "bring us together." Leave it to Buchanan to posit that 1968 was the beginning of the culture wars that would lead to the Red and Blue state divide of 2004. Still, a year that gave us 2001: A Space Odyssey, pitcher Denny McLain's 30-win season, and "the San Francisco Sound" can't be all bad. 1968 is an illuminating time capsule. --Donald Liebenson

Special Features

  • Tom Brokaw's personal perspective on the culture of the 1960s
  • Additional interviews with Arlo Guthrie, Rafer Johnson, Mark Rudd, Tommy Smothers, Bruce Springsteen, Jon Stewart, and Andrew Young

Product Details

  • Actors: Tom Brokaw
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: A&E HOME VIDEO
  • DVD Release Date: February 26, 2008
  • Run Time: 94 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000ZDQI44
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,895 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "1968 with Tom Brokaw (History Channel)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
This documentary DVD is of value as an introduction to the late 1960's period, and an interesting retrospective for people who experienced the turmoil of the times. The piece also gives some perspectives on how the repercussions of the events of 1968 continue to be felt.

Brokaw's companion piece to his book "Boom: Voices of the Sixties" reviews the most significant events in this turbulent year and places the events in their historical context. The Tet offensive in Vietnam, the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy, student uprisings, the Chicago Democratic Convention and increasing black militancy all receive balanced treatment. In addition, the documentary examines the evolving New Left, civil rights and counter culture movements, as well as the reaction to them on the part of the larger "silent majority." The beginnings of the feminist movement are also described.

Brokaw's interviews include participants in events as well as people who experienced them from the outside. Events are treated with balance, as when the Chicago convention riots are described by both a policeman and a protestor who were present that night. Pat Buchanan is especially effective at highlighting how 1968 became a pivotal year for the rise of conservatism in presidential politics.

The program suffers from some sloppy and inattentive editing. For example, the interview of the army nurse in Vietnam only includes part of a story which, in the book version, helps explain the deep emotional impact of the war on her life. Also, the Arlo Guthrie segment on "Alice's Restaurant" comes across as a sentimental sing-along, and misses an opportunity to use the song to highlight the attitudes of many young people toward the military draft.
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This video was excellent! Having been born in 1968 it was great to see so many of the events that literally "changed" America unfold before my eyes. As a high school history teacher,I purchased this video to show my senior United States History classes. It was both informative and entertaining (even for 17 and 18 year olds!)
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Format: DVD
STORY - This History Channel documentary with Tom Brokaw as host highlights the most turbulent year of, arguably, the most turbulent decade in our country's history. It is hard to dispute the statement that America changed dramatically during the sixties and 1968 seemed to be the year that everything changed. There were two major assassinations, a riot at the Democratic convention, violent protests on college campuses, and a very contentious presidential campaign with the sitting president, Lyndon Johnson, opting not to run again. Drug use was rampant among the 'hippie' generation. But there was also the 'silent majority' who continued to pursue their version of the American way. These views clashed in often violent ways stretching the ability of law enforcement to contain them at times. Not to mention the race issue inflamed by the murder of Martin Luther King, Jr. Did I mention feminism and the rise of the women's liberation movement? And for good measure add a resurrected politician named Richard Nixon into the mix. It was fitting that the year should culminate in one of the greatest achievements of mankind, the Apollo 8 Space Mission to the moon. 1968 is not just a year in the past, it is an experience that still influences society today among those who experienced it and those influenced by them. If you missed the sixties, this is a good place to start in understanding what happened. Plenty of good archival footage from actual events. The low ratings of some people seem to have more to do with what's missing than what's included. Unfortunately a 90 minute documentary about 1968 will inevitably leave out some important events or different perspectives. WWW.LUSREVIEWS.BLOGSPOT.COM.
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Format: DVD
In some of his recent books, especially "Boom: Talking About the Sixties" (2008), and "The Times of Our Lives" (2011), Tom Brokaw has combined his own personal reminiscences with the remarks of interviewees in an attempt to learn how the past might explain America's current problems and perhaps guide the way to a better future.

In "1968 With Tom Brokaw," he applies this formula to this "pivotal" year, contending that, "The people who lived through that time have stories to tell that help us understand the country we are today." "1968" alludes briefly to sports, music, and films, but its emphasis is primarily on military, social, and political developments, taken more or less in chronological order: The Tet offensive, the hippie movement, race relations, women's liberation, the McCarthy and Kennedy primary campaigns, the political conventions, the Humphrey-Nixon campaign, and a hopeful account of Apollo 8's trip to the moon.

"1968" draws on contemporary newsreels, Brokaw's personal recollections, and the contributions of a large group of commentators. The original images from 1968 are the strongest part of this documentary. For older viewers, they will bring back memories; for younger viewers, they will convey an idea of what went on in this troubled year. Brokaw's personal experiences are less compelling than those of his commentators, among whom are such political operatives as Sam Brown, Pat Buchanan, Jeff Greenfield, and Rafer Johnson; and activists Mark Rudd, Cleveland Sellers, and Andrew Young. For some reason, Brokaw seems to think that musicians have special insights on this year--among the commentators are Arlo Guthrie, Michelle Phillips, Bruce Springsteen, and James Taylor.
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