Welcome to 1968 — a revolution in a book. Essays, memoirs, and more by fourteen award-winning authors offer unique perspectives on one of the world’s most tumultuous years.
Nineteen sixty-eight was a pivotal year that grew more intense with each day. As thousands of Vietnamese and Americans were killed in war, students across four continents took over colleges and city streets. Assassins murdered Dr. King and Robert F. Kennedy. Demonstrators turned out in Prague and Chicago, and in Mexico City, young people and Olympic athletes protested. In those intense months, generations battled and the world wobbled on the edge of some vast change that was exhilarating one day and terrifying the next. To capture that extraordinary year, editors Marc Aronson and Susan Campbell Bartoletti created an anthology that showcases many genres of nonfiction. Some contributors use a broad canvas, others take a close look at a moment, and matched essays examine the same experience from different points of view. As we face our own moments of crisis and division, 1968 reminds us that we’ve clashed before and found a way forward — and that looking back can help map a way ahead.
With contributions by:
Susan Campbell Bartoletti
Loree Griffin Burns
Laban Carrick Hill
About the Author
Marc Aronson is the author and editor of many titles for young people, including War Is: Soldiers, Survivors, and Storytellers Talk about War, co-edited by Patty Campbell, and Master of Deceit: J. Edgar Hoover and America in the Age of Lies. Marc Aronson lives in New Jersey.
Susan Campbell Bartoletti is the author of many nonfiction books for young people, including Hitler Youth: Growing Up in Hitler’s Shadow, a Newbery Honor Book. She lives in Pennsylvania.
Marc Aronson is living proof of the magic of the world of writing books for young readers. He did not expect this to be his career—he went to New York University, where he earned a doctorate in American history, and worked in adult reference publishing. But when he saw an advertisement for an editor of a series of books about the lands and peoples of the world (The Portraits of the Nations series, originally published by Lippencott)—books he had grown up reading and loving—he applied for and won the job. Working on books for young people—and then meeting other authors and artists, reviewers, librarians, teachers—he found he was in a world he loved. Editing books about different nations, peoples, and cultures, he came to realize he wanted to publish fiction and poetry, as well as nonfiction for young people. He created Edge—a place for books that explored all of the borders and boundaries in growing up, from immigration to coming-of-age. He then began to write his own books.
Marc’s older son once asked him why his first book, Art Attack, was so different from the others. It is the one book he has written about art; all the others in some way relate to history or current events. In a way he experienced in nonfiction what many novelists go through: his first book was the most autobiographical. Marc grew up learning about radical art, avant-garde art, from his father, who was a painter and innovative scenic designer. The book was a form of passing on what he had learned. While all of his books are nonfiction, they all also have a personal dimension—a way that person, subject, idea, spoke to him. Marc grew up in a school where many families had suffered from the Red Scare, a school devoted to racial integration when that was the law, but often not the practice. Master of Deceit is, in a way, Marc visiting his own childhood and looking at the conflicts he grew up hearing about with his trained adult eyes.
Marc now wears many hats, he is part of the graduate faculty in the School of Communication and Information at Rutgers University, where he trains librarians and teachers in using books with K–12 readers. He gives talks in schools to students, trains teachers and librarians—especially on the new Common Core standards, and he is exploring how nonfiction can flourish in the world of e-books and apps. For example, for Master of Deceit, he has found a film, You Can’t Get Away With It, that was crafted for J. Edgar Hoover and fits perfectly with chapter 7 (you can see the original poster for it on page 62). You can see the entire film for free by going to his website, www.marcaronson.com, where he also has a discussion guide for the book and other resources.
“Step into the wood-shingled house I grew up in, and into the past. You find us gathered in the living room, listening to my writer father, Sid Fleischman, reading his latest chapter aloud. Outside, the breeze off the Pacific, ten blocks away, streams through the fruit trees my parents have planted and rustles the cornfield in our front yard — the only cornfield in all of Santa Monica, California.”
Scant surprise that Paul Fleischman grew up to write Weslandia, about a grammar-school misfit who founds a new civilization in his suburban backyard, built around a mysterious wind-sown plant. A taste for nonconformity and a love of the plant world run through many of his books, including Animal Hedge, in which a father uses a clipped shrub to guide his sons in choosing their careers.
“My mother plays piano, my father classical guitar. From upstairs that evening comes the entrancing sound of my sisters playing a flute duet. The house resounds with Bach, Herb Alpert, Dodgers games, and Radio Peking coming from my shortwave radio.”
From that musical, multitrack upbringing came Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices, winner of the Newbery Medal, and Big Talk, its sequel for a quartet of speakers. It’s also the source of the author’s madcap play, Zap, a theatrical train wreck of seven simultaneous plays, the result of a stage company’s attempt to compete with TV.
“My father’s interest in things historical has led to the purchase of a hand printing press. We’ve all learned to set type. I have my own business, printing stationery for my parents’ friends. I read type catalogs along with Dylan Thomas and Richard Brautigan.”
History has informed many of Paul’s books, from the colonial settings of his Newbery Honor book Graven Images, inspired by his years living in a two-hundred-year-old house in New Hampshire, to the newly updated Dateline: Troy, which juxtaposes the Trojan War story with strikingly similar newspaper clippings from World War I to the Iraq War.
“An old issue of Mad magazine sits on a table, along with a copy of the Daily Sun-Times and Walnut, the satiric underground paper I started with two friends, which landed us in the dean’s office today—again.”
What better education for the future author of A Fate Totally Worse Than Death, a wicked parody of teen horror novels,? Or for the visual humor of Sidewalk Circus, a wordless celebration of how much more children see than their elders?
“Thirty-five years later, I still draw on Bach, living-room theater, the look of letters on a page, and still aspire to the power of a voice coming from a radio late at night in a pitch-black room.”
Table of Contents
Nightly News-Winter Elizabeth Partridge 3
Biker's Ed Paul Fleischman 6
The Red Guard Lenore Look 14
The Student View from Paris Kate MacMillan 26
Nightly News-Spring Elizabeth Partridge 38
The Death of the Dream Kekla Magoon 40
The Wrong Side of History Laban Carrick Hill 51
Gym Crow Jennifer Anthony 60
Robert F. Kennedy Mark Kurlansky 72
Nightly News-Summer Elizabeth Partridge 76
People, Get Ready Susan Campbell Bartoletti 78
Prague Spring Mark Kurlansky 94
Running with Sharp Schticks David Lubar 103
Nightly News-Fall Elizabeth Partridge 117
Student Sacrifices Omar Figueras 120
Running Into History Jim Murphy 131
The Code Wars Loree Griffin Burns 140
Douglas Engelbart Marc Aronson 151
Author Notes 164
Source Notes 180
Selected Bibliography 193
Image Credits 194