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Boom! Voices of the Sixties Personal Reflections on the '60s and Today

3.75  ·  Rating Details ·  1,717 Ratings  ·  324 Reviews
In The Greatest Generation, his landmark bestseller, Tom Brokaw eloquently evoked for America what it meant to come of age during the Great Depression and the Second World War. Now, in Boom!, one of America’s premier journalists gives us an epic portrait of another defining era in America as he brings to life the tumultuous Sixties, a fault line in American history. The vo ...more
Hardcover, 688 pages
Published November 6th 2007 by Random House (first published January 1st 2007)
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Feb 18, 2017 Amy rated it really liked it
Boom! Voices of the Sixties was an incisive and balanced look back on the major events happening in the sixties. The majority of the book covers politics, Vietnam and civil rights. Also included, to a lesser extent are music, lifestyles, women's rights and space exploration.

Brokaw has a nice flow to his writing which makes the book (despite its length) an easy read. The book is divided into sections by topic and then reflects on the prominent people of each. Several pages are devoted to the pers
Larry Bassett
Feb 09, 2017 Larry Bassett rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio
I think it is saying something good about an author when after you read one book you want to immediately go on and read another. Tom Brokaw had that effect on me. When I finished listening to this book I immediately went to the website to get his previous book titled The Greatest Generation.

Tom Brokaw is a star TV journalist. I think that means he is fairly discrete in showing what he really thinks. I don't think he really wants to make the world a better place in the global sense b
Mar 04, 2008 Cheryl added it
Recommends it for: Everyone
Excellent book! If you're a Baby Boomer it will sound like your life. Mr. Brokaw has it all. Civil Rights, Vietnam, Women's Rights, the music and the sounds of the 60's and the 70's.
If you are a child of a Boomer, read it to understand your parents!
Like his book "The Greatest Generation", Mr. Brokaw has interviewed those who were at the forefront of the many movements of the 60's. He also offers his view of this generation. He was a young newsman during the time and just starting his career. He
Jackie "the Librarian"
Feb 28, 2008 Jackie "the Librarian" rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: news groupies
Shelves: non-fiction
Tom Brokaw talks to people he knows from the 60's and groups them into different sections - women's movement, Vietnam, politics, etc. The result is a whole lot of anecdotes, without much deep analysis. I enjoyed meeting all of Tom Brokaw's friends, and found myself quite envious of his social life! I kind of wanted more pictures, more info on the more interesting personalities, and definitely a few more conclusions.
Jun 17, 2008 Erik rated it it was amazing
My first stab at Tom Brokaw’s writing came with his quick-read of a memoir, “A Long Way from Home”, which transported me to a time that I can only recall from stories told to me first-hand from my grandmother, born in South Dakota like Brokaw, and my father, who is about ten years junior to Brokaw. In this his second large-scale attempt to define an important American generation, Brokaw deftly weaves up-close and personal profiles of a multitude of American cultural and political icons – baby bo ...more
Jan 27, 2008 Robert rated it it was ok
Tom Brokaw returns to the well of generational stories for this document of the lives of a time much more difficult to characterize than the WWII generation, that of the 1960s. Brokaw doesn't take sides in the resulting 40-year cultural debate and wisely qualifies this dispassionate stance by saying that whatever side one falls on, the Sixties were a complex time of cultural change. Merely commenting on the significance of that change and acknowledging that history is still judging the Sixties l ...more
Feb 19, 2008 Donna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: current-events
A little lifestory confession: I was in high school from 1967 to 1971. Had I been 4 years older and in college during those years, I would have seen "the 60's" up close and personal. While I vividly remember those times, it was as a younger "hippie-wannabe" rather than as a participant in the events. Nevertheless...

I really enjoyed this book. It's not just a look back on the 60's, but Brokaw interviews many of the more interesting "movers and shakers" of the period to reflect on how the issues o
Dan Holt
Aug 31, 2008 Dan Holt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really good overview of those who influenced and were influenced by the events of the sixties. Brokaw gives an effective survey of many different individuals and personalities, avoiding the polarized views of the decade, and rather showing the complexities of a rather pivotal ten years. And written in an engaging style, weaving his own personal experience in and out of the profiles. My only complaint is that the book focuses more on the famous and less on ordinary people. I would have liked to s ...more
Rachel Brady
May 27, 2009 Rachel Brady rated it liked it
This helped me learn more about an era I've always been curious about. I was born in the mid-seventies and missed this important epoch in American history. Brokaw explores the civil rights struggles, feminism, the sexual revolution, the war in Vietnam, and America's disillusionment with its political leaders. Learning about the Sixties through interviews with some of its key figures was helpful. Brokaw also tied the Sixties into the current political climate. This book was published right before ...more
Sep 23, 2008 Alison rated it it was amazing
This book was absolutely fascinating. It is a bit lengthy, but it was well worth every hour spent reading it. I learned so much about the sixties and our country during that time and the impact that it has had on our political climate today. It covers topics from JFK's assassination, the Vietnam war, drugs, women's rights, civil rights, MLK's assassination, Bobby Kennedy's assassination, music and Watergate and so much more.

What made the book so great was that Brokaw acknowledges from the begin
Jul 01, 2009 Rex rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
As one born in the 80’s, I welcomed this opportunity to gain a broad perspective of the 60’s. I listened to the audiobook, which is skillfully narrated by Brokaw himself.

Brokaw guides the narrative by introducing many individuals who lived during the period. Brokaw’s extensive interviews and connections make for intriguing listening.

At times, Brokaw recounts the events as they occurred in the 60’s. Other times, he inserts interviews from people who provide a retroactive perspective of the time
Toby Zidle
Dec 10, 2013 Toby Zidle rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Student's of the 60s
Recommended to Toby by: My wife, who read the book before I did.
I loved Tom Brokaw's newscasting and reporting style. I can't say as much for his writing. I found it rather dry and often preachy. It seemed overly repetitious. The book could have been better with 200 fewer pages.

I'm about Brokaw's age. I went to college and started my professional career in the 60s. I passed my draft physical and was classified 1-A for the draft until my employer got me a II-A deferment. I remember clearly the events Brokaw writes about.

Yet the book never 'grabbed' me. I ofte
Jun 09, 2009 Katrina rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those born from 1940-1970
Recommended to Katrina by: Aram Public Library Book Discussion
Shelves: adult, non-fiction
Good overview of those who influenced and were influenced by the events of the sixties. Brokaw gives an effective survey of many different individuals and personalities, avoiding the polarized views of the decade, and rather showing the complexities of a rather pivotal ten years. The result is a whole lot of anecdotes, without much deep analysis. Written in an engaging style, weaving his own personal experience in and out of the profiles. One complaint is that the book focuses more on the famous ...more
Jun 25, 2010 Joanie rated it it was ok
The book started well, and there were interesting tidbits throughout. Tom Brokaw has access to the movers and shakers of the 60's. He reconnects with people whom he interviewed during more turbulent times to discuss where they are now and what they make of it all. It's an interesting premise, but it ultimately falls short. First, at between 600 and 700 pages, it's just too long. I got tired of it before it ended. Secondly, when you close the book, you really don't know much more than you did whe ...more
Jenni Buchanan
Jan 01, 2017 Jenni Buchanan rated it it was amazing
This book came at just the right time for me. I had been feeling like the world was topsy-turvy after the 2016 Presidential election, but Brokaw's description of the devastating assassinations of JFK, Martin Luther King Jr., and then Bobby Kennedy helped me put things in perspective. Reading about how not just the Democratic Party, but the U.S. and the world at large, felt the shock and tragedy of these deaths.

This book is a history class in and of itself. Brokaw is so damn smart, and knows so
Feb 25, 2008 Paula rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
2013: I listened to this on CD a few years ago and liked it so much I made my own copy. So I'm listening to it again for a second time - am loving it just as much as the first time.


2008: I listened to this on CD and was mesmerized throughout. I'm still reeling from the nostalgia with which the stories in this book have filled me. I was 13 in 1968, THE year of the 60's decade, so I'm really a 70's kid. I remember much about the late 60's, but never had a context in which to pull
Mar 30, 2009 George rated it really liked it
Wars, riots, assassinations, a sexual revolution, a civil rights movement, Women’s Lib and a really cool sound-track: What’s not to love about the ’60s? Tom Brokaw’s excellent book, ‘Boom! Voices of the Sixties,’ is a Sociology-101 diamond mine: A comprehensive collection of thought provoking, well written, personal vignettes of first-hand experiences. An oral history of an incredible time.

There’s plenty to ruminate and reminisce about in its 612 pages. Especially for those of us of the pre-sep
Mar 16, 2008 Runningfox rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: I very highly recommend this book
Recommended to Runningfox by: It was offered by my book club and after reading a review I orde
This is a great book to read for anyone who is old enough to remember the 1960's and a great book for those too young..This book brought back many memories both good memories and memories of troubled times..Sometimes Tom does get a little wordy and drags out some things but overall this is a terrific book and if for nothing else should be read for its historical facts..I very highly recommend it..
Nov 07, 2007 Suzanne rated it it was ok
Shelves: lost-interest
I WILL finish this book, just not right now. Right now I'm on break from school and I really just want to read some light and fun material. So far the book has been very interesting just a bit heavy at the moment.
Kelsey Carlile
May 03, 2015 Kelsey Carlile rated it it was amazing
this book was fantastic and vivid. For someone who was born in 92 this book gave me a good idea of what the 60's were like.
I give up. It’s Tom Brokaw, I thought. I don’t know that much about the sixties compared to other eras, I thought; I missed all but a couple of months of the decade, so – here we go.

First of all, the writing was not what I expected. It didn’t feel like it was at the level where I would expect Tom Brokaw’s voice to be, after all the acclaim I've heard about his books. It wasn’t stupid, quite; it wasn’t badly written, the format was interesting (part memoir, a smattering of interviews bookended b
Mar 04, 2017 Deb rated it liked it
An abridged version, Tom Brokaw narrates his history of the sixties and its impact on the subsequent decades (It ends in 2008, with the expectation that Hillary will be president). He interviews many people active in the various movements of the 60's; Vietnam Vets, peace activists, feminists, politicians, civil rights activists, and James Taylor representing the changing music

Well done and food for thought. From the musings, I get that the fallout from the 60s still reverberates today.

Bill Breen
May 24, 2017 Bill Breen rated it really liked it
I found it to be a good memory refresher. Especially on Vietnam.
Bob Schmitz
Jan 24, 2015 Bob Schmitz rated it liked it
Shelves: history
Tom Brokaw describes the 60s through the eyes of his famous and wealthy friends. It's very interesting but one wonders what the non-famous people were doing. At age 62 I remember 90% of what he talks about and it is very interesting to hear well known people from that time muse about it's meaning.

A few notes from the book:

A quote from Bismarck "Fools learn from their mistakes. Wise men learn from the experiences of others."

During the 60s particularly in 1968 politics became very polarized and f
Mar 06, 2017 Emily rated it it was amazing
Wow. The parallels between generations, politics,'s not something most people look for, but they are present. I loved how Brokaw contrasted the views in this book, presenting both sides of the issues from individuals who were there. And the fact that the prevailing opinion is that the current generation is simply repeating the mistakes of the past...just wow. I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
Jenni V.
Jul 06, 2015 Jenni V. rated it liked it
I had this book on my 'to-read' list forever and finally got around to reading it after seeing it on the "endangered" shelf at the library (the final spot books that haven't been checked out recently go before getting weeded).

If they asked me now that I've read it if it should be kept, I'm not sure what I would say. It was well-written but there was so much speculation from him and others about the 2008 election, especially the primary between Obama and Clinton, that it's surprisingly outdated
Angela Boland
Nov 11, 2016 Angela Boland rated it really liked it
Similarly to his bestseller The Greatest Generation, Tom Brokaw gives us an overview of the life and movements of the 1960s in a series of mini-biographies of many of the movers and shakers of the time. He knows a lot of people, in other words.

I didn’t know this book existed! I was a fan of Tom Brokaw’s original bestseller, but in general I prefer the 60s to the 50s. The fact is, for all of the down-home good feelings we associate with the 50s, the endemic sexism and racism are kind of a killjo
Aug 25, 2012 Anne rated it really liked it
I came of age in the 60s in the Midwest and clearly remember bits and pieces of them - not because I was drugged out but because first I was in college and studying (and partying) - then married and then a stay-at-home mom for several years. My focus was more micro than macro and my husband had student, then married, then married with dependent deferments and finally a high draft number so Vietnam affected me only by friends I know who served. Many of them came home and went on with their lives ...more
Tom Gase
Nov 11, 2009 Tom Gase rated it did not like it
Instead of Boom!, this book should have been called Now!. I picked up this book after looking at it in bookstores for almost two years. I loved Tom Brokaw's The Greatest Generation, so I said, "Why not?" This book I didn't like as much, however, because it was a little misleading. Not as much about the sixties, as much as what people from the sixties are doing now. I thought this would be a nice history book about the decade from 1960 to 1969. The author even has THAT different, saying the decad ...more
Apr 27, 2008 Alspilsbury added it
Recommends it for: Anyone who remembers the Sixties, or anyone who doesn't.
"If you rememer the sixties, you weren't really there" ain't neccesarilly so.

Brokaw did hundreds of interviews with survivors of the sixties. Many of the names, and incidents recounted,will be well known to to anyone born before 1960, and some names not so familiar, but nevertheless had impact then as well as now.

The first part of the book breaks the different areas of conflict that hit the streets, Civil Rights, poitics, the Vietnam War, Womens Movement, Rock and Roll. Several interviews in ea
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Thomas John Brokaw is an American television journalist and author, previously working on regularly scheduled news documentaries for the NBC television network, and is the former NBC News anchorman and managing editor of the program NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw. His last broadcast as anchorman was on December 1, 2004, succeeded by Brian Williams in a carefully planned transition. In the later ...more
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