I was recently given a book and told, “I would enjoy this.” Now first I have my own reading list. Yes they are mostly graphic novels and are not life changing or life informing. (For readers who don’t know this was a joke. Graphic novels are really hard back comic books that are apparently very popular now.) Any way I usually read a chapter or two of the suggested reading material trying to understand what the donor got out of the book and whether they are suggesting it to me for my enjoyment, or to change some misguided idea I have expressed, or because they think my education is deficient. (If you are one such book suggester please do not be offended this is about me not about you and please don’t hesitate to suggest books because I do occasionally express misguided ideas and areas of my education are deficient.)
Any way I picked up Lawrence Wright’s In the New World: Growing up in America from the Sixties to the Eighties with these thoughts in mind. The book is an autobiographical journey exploring the forces that united and divided the people of America from the assassination of John F. Kennedy in Dallas up until the election Of Ronald Reagan as President. The author was born about five years before me, in Dallas. He goes onto a career as a journalist and writes wonderfully.
Once I started I couldn’t put it down. Taking this journey with him was much like remembering my journey through that same time period. I often found myself thinking, ‘Oh yeah I had forgotten that.’ Examples of those moments are that Martin Luther King’s nonviolent approach to civil rights was beginning to be challenged by other approaches within the black community and his assassination let free his spirit to empower the moment in new ways. I had forgotten that American products in the late sixties and early 70’s were lousy compared to cars from Europe and electronics from Japan. And finally that John Hinkley was from Dallas and grew up Episcopal. And I wonder if I ever knew Ronald Reagan and JFK campaigned on many of the same positions.
If you lived through those years and its dichotomies and arguments; If you remember being for the war because you believed in the domino theory, but opposed it as it dragged on with no victory insight; If you loved or hated Nixon; If you just like a good read maybe you would enjoy this.Someone just recommended Eragon to me. It’s another great read.