Our Sixties: An Activist's History [Hardback]

Paul Lauter(Author)

ISBN: 9781580469906 | Published by: University of Rochester Press | Year of Publication: 2020 | 300p, H9 x W6,
Status: In Stock - Available

Our Sixties


Today, some fifty years after, we celebrate - or excoriate - "the Sixties." Using his wide-ranging experience as an activist and writer, Paul Lauter examines the values, the exploits, the victories, the implications, and sometimes the failings, of the "Movement" of that conflicted time. In Our Sixties, Lauter writes about movement activities from the perspective of a full-time participant: 1964 Mississippi freedom schools; Students for a Democratic Society (SDS); the Morgan community school in Washington, DC, which he headed; a variety of antiwar, antidraft actions; the New University Conference, a radical group of faculty and graduate students; The Feminist Press, which he helped found; and the United States Servicemen's Fund, an organization supporting antiwar GIs. He got fired, got busted, got published, and even got tenure. He honed his skills writing for the New York Review of Books among other magazines. As a teacher he created innovative courses ranging from "Revolutionary Literature" and "Contesting the Canon" to "The Sixties in Fiction, Poetry, and Film." He led the development of the groundbreaking Heath Anthology of American Literature and remains its general editor.

Lauter's book offers both a retrospective look at the social justice struggles of the Sixties and an account of how his participation in these struggles has shaped his life. Social history as well as personal chronicle, this account is for those who recall that turbulent decade as well as for those who seek to better understand its impact on American politics and society in our current era.

PAUL LAUTER is A. K. & G. M. Smith Professor of Literature Emeritus at Trinity College (Hartford). He was president of the American Studies Association and has won many awards from the academic associations in which he has worked, including, most recently, the Modern Language Association's Francis March Award for Distinguished Service to the Profession of English Studies and the Working-Class Studies Association's Lifetime Achievement Award.

Table of Contents

The Movement and Me
Among Friends in Philly
Mississippi Summer - A Quaker Vacation
Professing at Smith and Selma
Return to Mississippi (Goddam)
The Draft - From Protest to Resistance?
Dreaming of a Freedom School in DC (For Bob Silvers)
A New University?
A Working-Class Movement of GIs
A Man in the Women's Movement
Where We Went and What We Did (and Did Not) Learn There
Authority and Our Discontents
Appendix A: A Call to Resist Illegitimate Authority
Appendix B: Syllabus for a Course on the Sixties

Reviews & Quotes

""A gripping portrayal of a dramatic era from the unique perspective of a keen observer, astute analyst, and direct participant in all its complex stages. In the author's words, "a book about the transformation of minds, my own and many others," and of the country, with rich lessons for those taking up the struggle today.""
Noam Chomsky

""Paul Lauter "stumbled" into the sixties, but he emerged (re)formed--by feminism, civil rights, the antiwar movement, black studies, personal catastrophe - and, not least, by his love of literature, especially poetry. Sixty years later, in another age of "illegitimate authority," his insights about resistance are invaluable, enlightening, and ever more necessary.""
Mary Helen Washington, author of 'The Other Blacklist: The African American Literary and Cultural Left of the 1950s'

""A veteran of some of the most remarkable progressive movements of the past sixty years, the distinguished scholar and teacher Paul Lauter examines his life and times with frankness, down-to-earth humor, and hard-won insight.""
Richard Yarborough, professor of English and African American studies, University of California, Los Angeles

""Since the 1960s, Paul Lauter has been one of our most significant and effective educators. In this memoir of the sixties he provides eyewitness recollections of many of the dramas of protest as well as much-needed reflection on the visions, experiments, and legacies of that time.""
Richard Flacks, coauthor, 'Making History, Making Blintzes: How Two Red Diaper Babies Found Each Other and Discovered America'

""Lauter's clear-eyed account of the activist movements of the sixties - their successes and failures as well as the enriching consequences of activism on his own life - is an indispensable narrative for anyone committed to countering the many threats to democracy in America today.""
Sandra Zagarell, Longman Professor of English Emerita, Oberlin College

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