In America's Uncivil Wars, Mark Hamilton Lytle illuminates the great social, cultural, and political upheavals of the era. He begins his chronicle surprisingly early, in the late '50s and early '60s, when A-bomb protests and books ranging from Catcher in the Rye to Silent Spring and The Feminine Mystique challenged attitudes towards sexuality and the military-industrial complex. As baby boomers went off to college, drug use increased, women won more social freedom, and the widespread availability of birth control pills eased inhibitions against premarital sex. Lytle describes how in 1967 these isolated trends began to merge into the mainstream of American life. The counterculture spread across the nation, Black Power dominated the struggle for racial equality, and political activists mobilized vast numbers of dissidents against the war. It all came to a head in 1968, with the deepening morass of the war, the assassinations of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr., race riots, widespread campus unrest, the violence at the Democratic convention in Chicago, and the election of Richard Nixon. By then, not only did Americans divide over race, class, and gender, but also over matters as simple as the length of a boy's hair or of a girl's skirt. Only in the aftermath of Watergate did the uncivil wars finally crawl to an end, leaving in their wake a new elite that better reflected the nation's social and cultural diversity.
Blending a fast-paced narration with broad cultural analysis, America's Uncivil Wars offers an invigorating portrait of the most tumultuous and exciting time in modern American history.