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Acclaimed national security columnist and noted cultural critic Fred Kaplan looks past the 1960s to the year that really changed America While conventional accounts focus on the sixties as the era of pivotal change that swept the nation, Fred Kaplan argues that it was 1959 that ushered in the wave of tremendous cultural, political, and scientific shifts that would play out in the decades that followed. Pop culture exploded in upheaval with the rise of artists like Jasper Johns, Norman Mailer, Allen Ginsberg, and Miles Davis. Court rulings unshackled previously banned books. Political power broadened with the onset of Civil Rights laws and protests. The sexual and feminist revolutions took their first steps with the birth control pill. America entered the war in Vietnam, and a new style in superpower diplomacy took hold. The invention of the microchip and the Space Race put a new twist on the frontier myth. Vividly chronicles 1959 as a vital, overlooked year that set the world as we know it in motion, spearheading immense political, scientific, and cultural change Strong critical acclaim: "Energetic and engaging" ( Washington Post ); "Immensely enjoyable ...a first-rate book" ( New Yorker ); "Lively and filled with often funny anecdotes" ( Publishers Weekly ) Draws fascinating parallels between the country in 1959 and today Drawing fascinating parallels between the country in 1959 and today, Kaplan offers a smart, cogent, and deeply researched take on a vital, overlooked period in American history.
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Table of Contents

Timeline. 1 Breaking the Chains. 2 A Visitor from the East. 3 The Philosopher of Hip. 4 Generations Howling. 5 The Cosmonaut of Inner Space. 6 The End of Obscenity. 7 Sickniks. 8 Thinking about the Unthinkable. 9 The Race for Space. 10 Toppling the Tyranny of Numbers. 11 The Assault on the Chord. 12 Revolutionary Euphoria. 13 Breaking the Logjam, Hitting the Wall. 14 The Frontier's Dark Side. 15 The New Language of Diplomacy. 16 Sparking the Powder Keg. 17 Civilizations in the Stars. 18 A Great Upward Swoop of Movement. 19 Blurring Art and Life. 20 Seeing the Invisible. 21 The Off-Hollywood Movie. 22 The Shape of Jazz to Come. 23 Dancing in the Streets. 24 Andromeda Freed from Her Chains. 25 New Frontiers. Acknowledgments. Notes. Credits. Index.

About the Author

Fred Kaplan is a columnist for Slate and a frequent contributor to the New York Times , New York magazine, and other publications. A former reporter and Pulitzer Prize winner for the Boston Globe , he is also the author of Daydream Believers and coauthor of The Wizards of Armageddon . He lives in Brooklyn with his wife, Brooke Gladstone.


'...very readable and pacy book that traces the significant events of 1959...pleasingly different from what you might expect.' (Beat Scene, December 2010).

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