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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|Title of History eBook: 1959: The Year Everything Changed|
|Release Date: 05-27-2009|
|Publisher: John Wiley & Sons|
This eBook download is available in the following formats:
|Parent title||1959: The Year...|
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1959: The Year Everything Changed
Chapter OneBreaking the Chains
On January 2, 1959, a Soviet rocket carrying the Lunik I space capsule-also known as Mechta, "the dream"-blasted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Tyuratam, Kazakhstan, accelerated to twenty-five thousand miles per hour (the magical speed known as "escape velocity"), sailed past the moon, and pushed free of Earth's orbit, becoming the first man-made object to revolve around the sun among the celestial bodies. The next issue of Time magazine hailed the feat as "a turning point in the multibillion-year history of the solar system," for "one of the sun's planets had at last evolved a living creature that could break the chains of its gravitational field."
The flight of the Lunik set off a year when chains of all sorts were broken with verve and apprehension-not just in the cosmos, but in politics, society, culture, science, and sex. A feeling took hold that the breakdown of barriers in space, speed, and time made other barriers ripe for transgressing.
1959 was the year when the shockwaves of the new ripped the seams of daily life, when humanity stepped into the cosmos and also commandeered the conception of human life, when the world shrank but the knowledge needed to thrive in it expanded exponentially, when outsiders became insiders, when categories were crossed and taboos were trampled, when everything was changing and everyone knew it-when the world as we now know it began to take form.
Just two months before Lunik, "the jet age" roared into being, when a brand-new Boeing 707, owned by Pan American World Airways, took off with great fanfare on the first...