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Age of Contradiction: American Thought & Culture in the 1960s
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Age of Contradiction: American Thought & Culture in the 1960s

3.11 of 5 stars 3.11  ·  rating details  ·  18 ratings  ·  5 reviews
In Age of Contradiction, Howard Brick provides a rich context for understanding historical events, cultural tensions, political figures, artistic works, and trends of intellectual life. His lucid and comprehensive book combines the best methods of historical analysis and assessment with fascinating subject matter to create a three-dimensional portrait of a complicated time ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published December 7th 2000 by Cornell University Press (first published August 1st 1998)
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Matthew Linton
Conveniently positioned between the decades of consensus (1950s) and what Daniel Rogers has called the "Age of Fracture" (1970s-early 1980s), Howard Brick's survey of the 1960s, "Age of Contradiction", works as a historical bridge while ably navigating one of the most complex intellectual and cultural periods in American history. Like "Age of Fracture", "Age of Contradiction" is more of a collage of disparate intellectual and cultural trends than a systematic analysis of 1960s culture and intell ...more
For Brick, the 1960s began as an Age of Affluence, one which saw culture become both more democratized and increasingly under the control of bureaucratic capitalism. The decade saw a rupture of consensus. Brick writes (rejecting the reading of Bell's "the end of ideology" as a paean to complacency) "the real contest lay between those who regarded consensus as capacious and progressive and those who saw it as a narrow current of permissive political belief." During the course of the 1960s, this s ...more
Dan Hummel
Brick examines the intellectual upheaval that accompanied the social transformations in the 1960s US. There is really no central argument here, rather chapters about “contradictions” in art, social sciences, and humanities that shaped the decade. While the organization around contradictions doesn’t give us a clear causal explanation for the changes in the 1960s, it has its advantages. Because the contradictions are broad – elitism and mass society, peace and violence, etc. – we see new ways to c ...more
An examination of the 1960s largely in terms of formal ideas and artistic trends, and very well grounded systematically (in terms of capitalism and alienation in particular).

Brick argues that the central feature of the 1960s was the contradiction inherent in the new affluent society, wherein the prospects of abundance opened vistas of social change and increased hopes of democratic participation in public life while at the same time reinforcing personal alienation and concentrating effective pow
Apr 28, 2011 Kristen rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Kristen by: Dr. Rieser
I really enjoyed Chapter 7, and pieces of chapter five, where it discussed authenticity vs. artifice in music, but other than that, it was kind of blah. I think it would be a much better read for those that are well-versed in studies of 1960s culture, because otherwise many of the references Brick makes will just go straight over your head.
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