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3.75  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,595 Ratings  ·  182 Reviews
In this monumental new book, award-winning author Mark Kurlansky has written his most ambitious work to date: a singular and ultimately definitive look at a pivotal moment in history.

With 1968, Mark Kurlansky brings to teeming life the cultural and political history of that world-changing year of social upheaval. People think of it as the year of sex, drugs, and rock and
ebook, 464 pages
Published December 30th 2003 by Ballantine Books (first published January 1st 2001)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Erik Graff
Jul 19, 2011 Erik Graff rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: history
Although only a junior in high school, 1968 was the most important year of my life to date, the year when I was most conscious of and involved in what was going on in the broader world. When I find a book on the subject, or the period surrounding it, or of a major event occurring during it, I tend to pick it up. Of all such books read thus far, Kurlansky's is the best.

The reasons for this opinion are several. For one thing, he doesn't confine himself to the USA. Extensive coverage is provided fo
May 22, 2008 Bob rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
This book brought back a lot of memories of my youth.(I turned nineteen in 1968.) The author does a good job providing a digest of many of the events of that year, but at the beginning of the book the author offers the proposition that this is such an important year that it changed the world. While I do not question that many of the events that occurred that year, did much to alter history, the author fails to, in any great detail, address what he believes are the results of this seminal year.
May 09, 2015 Scottnshana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Several years ago I read Rick Perlstein's well-researched but very depressing "Nixonland" while working for the UN in the Republic of Georgia, and from that read I'd already gathered that the U.S. had some very ugly ethical, political, and geopolitical truths to tackle in 1968. I have also heard that we are always nostalgic for the years both we and our parents were on the cusp of adulthood, and my father graduated high school in 1968--so of course I picked up this book. In it, Kurlansky takes t ...more
Oct 01, 2008 Blyden rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Did not enjoy this as much as Salt. In this book Kurlansky provides a history of the events of 1968 (focusing on Prague Spring, Racial tensions and civil rights in the US, Vietnam protests, Cuba, Biafra, the US election, Democratic Convention in Chicago, assassinations of MLK and Bobby Kennedy, and student protests in Paris, Spain, and Mexico). The thesis is that 1968 was the crucial year in a short time period of the late 1960s in which the mass-audience, powerful imagery, and sheer speed of me ...more
Dec 29, 2011 Darlene rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who was a teen in 1968
This is not my normal read. I came upon it quite accidentally. But I must admit that I felt I learned more about what was happening during my graduation year. I knew it was a turbulent time. But I thought 18 was that way for all young adults throughout time.

Pulling out from the individual conflict I did know and felt personally the war versus peace and love but little did I know of what was happening world wide. This book takes the magnifying glass and zeros in on a conflict from the persons at
Simon Wood

Mark Kurlansky has set himself the task of writing the history of 1968, a year of rock n roll n rebellions. Much of the focus of the book is on the student movements that erupted across the world, principally in France, the United States, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Mexico and Germany, though Kurlansky still finds room to deal with the Vietnam War, the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, the war in Biafra, as well as topics such as feminism, and the popular philosophy and literature
Dave Biggus
Jun 22, 2015 Dave Biggus rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I only had an inkling as to what a pivotal year 1968 was before this book. It seemed like the whole planet had an almost coincidental revolution. Viet Nam was a big part of it, but the conflicts between authority and protest, communism/capitalism, feminism, economic disparity, the middle east (of course), all played roles. And it was all brought live (and much less edited) by the new medium of television! Particularly reveling were the parts about Abbie Hoffman (hilarious) and the Chicago Democr ...more
May 16, 2009 Roshan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've been wanting to read this book for 6 years, ever since a professor told me that people who came of age in 1968 immediately recognize each other as a "sixty-eighter", no matter where in the world they spent that year and what they did.

If, like me, you wish you had been a young person in the 1960s, this is a must-read. 1968 is remembered as the year when the forces for true democracy changed the world. It was the year when Dylan and Ginsberg became prophets, when TV began to change the media
Aug 01, 2008 Phil rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people interested in the 60s
I got this book as research on a piece I am writing about 1968. It was a good account of certain aspects but Kurlansky focused only on left-wing radical student and youth movements to the exclusion of all else. That was OK but he left out quite a bit, even of that. The feeling of rage and even any direct quotation of the insane, ridiculous demands that a lot of these groups made were completely left out. There was little talk of anything outside the rarified world of student radicalism. The assa ...more
Dec 19, 2008 Diane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As the title suggests, this is a book about the year I graduated from high school and my first year in college. Surprisingly, I was unaware of the world events transpiring at the same time as the events in the U.S. that most effected my views evan today: civil rights unrest, the murders of Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy and the student demonstrations. Kurlansky explains these events in more detail than I remember, but also talks about such events as the French student unrest, Praque Spring ...more
Feb 11, 2015 Jonathan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was posted as an assigned text for one of the classes I tutor students for, so I picked it up to familiarize myself with it. It took me roughly two days to get through it from cover to cover, and I'm glad it didn't take much longer than that. For the most part, the author has no discernible main thesis throughout the work, but strings together events that just so happened to occur in the same year and called them related in a convoluted way. Most of the facts presented were very hard to dis ...more
Feb 12, 2010 Donna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who liked Tom Brokaw's book "Boom"
Shelves: history
In 1968 I was a freshman/sophomore in high school. I always felt that if I had been five years older I would have been a hippie in Grant Park. This book put a lot of the events of that year into perspective. I didn't realize that the invasion of Czechoslovakia happened during the Democratic convention. I didn't know there was a student uprising and massacre in Mexico just before the Olympics. I'm glad to have read a historical account of what I lived through but certainly didn't understand.
Mar 13, 2016 Brian rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book gave me a lot of historical information, and it is amazing how 1968 is still relevant today.

The US was mired in the longest-running war in American history at the time (Vietnam), though it was dubious whether we should have even been there or whether it was winnable. We are in a similar situation today with the conflicts in the Middle East.

Richard Nixon's "Southern Strategy" was the gameplan for using racism to win elections. This strategy has been huge in determining elections since t
R.S. Gompertz
Nov 20, 2014 R.S. Gompertz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, the-sixties
I grew up in the sixties so the significance of the times was filtered and distorted by the day-to-day concerns of a grade school kid.

Kurlansky's "1968" puts the times into perspective. The assassinations of MLK and RFK. The Shakespearean tragedy of LBJ. Prague Spring. May '68. Student uprisings around the world. Ghetto uprisings around the country. The Democratic Convention debacle in Chicago and the inspiring hope of the Apollo program.

I remember many of these events seeping into our lives f
Jul 05, 2016 Eric rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Was it really all (just?) sex, drugs, and rock & roll? Kurlansky has placed many facets of this particular year into a historical context to reveal a momentous nature associated with so much of what went on in that year. For example, looking back to 1910-1920 in Mexico and the murderous nature of the ruling class there and how that was brought forward into the '68 Mexico games and the symbols of 'black power' that were demonstrated. Or, what had happened through the lens of Eastern Europeans ...more
Apr 23, 2011 Jo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the way I like to read history: reading of simultaneous events around the world; and 1968 was a pivotal year politically, culturally etc. and engaged passionately many people in their 20s-out with the old order and the supposed end of hypocrisy and inequality and sexism and "keeping up of appearances". History does seem to repeat itself albeit in an updated technologically way.
I think, given the author's other books,he is a "neat" person.
Bookmarks Magazine

Kurlansky is master of small ceremonies. Author of Salt: A World History and Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World, he examines another deceptively small thing in 1968: a year. He draws together disparate people and events in a global portrait of revolutionary change. Kurlansky is the first to admit that his youthful, anti-Vietnam bent is anything but objective; after all, he came of age during the turbulent

Feb 23, 2016 Jeff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
The below is from a blog entry of mine:

I also finished reading Mark Kurlanskyâs book, 1968: The Year that Rocked the World, (New York: Ballantine Books, 2004) last week, a book that got me to put down my memories of the year in four recent posts. Although â68 was a violent year, it now seems tame when comparing it to 16th Century Thailand. Although I donât want to go into detail about the book, feeling that Iâve already written enough about that year let me say a few things about it. Kurlansky
Babak Fakhamzadeh
Kurlansky starts off by providing the four factors that contributed to 1968's flurry of revolts:

+ The example that was set in the early 1960s by the civil rights movement.
+ A generation that felt so different and alienated that it rejected all authority.
+ A war that was universally hated, providing a cause célèbre.
+ The emergence of yet-loosely controlled, and therefore much more raw and direct, television.

The book's interesting, but also feels a bit quaint. Focusing primarily on the U.S., with
Sep 04, 2014 Alexandra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book came out a decade ago. I think I've owned it for that same length of time - I seem to recall getting it as a freebie at some readers' night at a bookshop. I'd adored everything else by Kurlansky that I'd read, so it seemed like a good deal at the time. And then it just... got lost in the pile of books that I own and haven't got around to reading. As happens all too often. Plus, I overlooked it because after all, 1968 is really quite recent, yeh? And modern history... well, it's just po ...more
Oct 23, 2013 Annabelle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
highly interesting and informative. I love the way it jumps back and forth explaining to the reader what was going on around the world at the same time. a fascinating era and we have a lot of freedoms we take for granted today because of the protesters of the 60s, for this we should be grateful. I would also be interested in reading a similar book focusing more on the uk during this period. recommendations welcome.
Columbia Warren
Feb 21, 2015 Columbia Warren rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very good popular history for those of us who did not experience the sixties. I especially liked that the book took a global approach and was not simply focused on the U.S.
Jan 03, 2016 Evie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Audio version. Well researched book about events around the globe from US politics, assassinations of RFK and MLK, the Vietnam war, student uprisings in Poland, France, Mexico, Prague, the Biafran war, 1968 Olympics in Mexico, etc. Kurlansky writes about how television changed the world in 1968 with live television broadcasts from Vietnam to the streets of Chicago during the Democratic convention. His description of so many of the events of this year are clearly imbedded in my memory, I assume f ...more
Oct 13, 2015 Lysergius rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An extremely well-written, and researched examination of the year that literally rocked the world. Where were you when Bobby Kennedy was shot? Who voted for Tricky Dick? What happened during Tet? The answers my friend are blowing in the wind...

Providing a wealth of background using currently available archive material especially on the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia and events in Poland Kurlansky provides insights into what went on behind the scenes. His contention that Nixon changed the face
Craig Werner
Apr 12, 2014 Craig Werner rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, sixties
The strength of this book lies in the final word of the title: "world." Unlike many "sixties books," Kurlansky's history doesn't confuse America (and Vietnam) with the whole story. He does recount the assassinations of Dr. King and Bobby Kennedy, the student takeover of Columbia University, the Chicago Convention, etc., but, more importantly, he gives detailed attention to events around the world. He's particularly good with Europe, concentrating on Poland, Czechoslovakia, West Germany and Franc ...more
Ted Magnuson
1968, the year that rocked the world.
I write this review at the beginning of 2014, 46 years after the events described in Kurlansky’s epic book. As a high school student back then in 1968, and now, as someone living in the 21st century, I can’t help but marvel at the contrast in society. Yes, this book has captured the temper of the times. I particularly liked his global perspective; Africa, Europe, Russia, as well as America. Everywhere people who felt themselves disenfranchised rose in protest
Thóg sé blianta orm leis an leabhar seo a léamh, bhí sé beagnach caite i dtraipisí agam, ach nuair a d'fhill mé air arís i mbliana, faoi dheireadh, fuair mé amach go gasta go raibh sé iontach spéisiúil.
Mar a bheifeá ag súil leis leanann an leabhar ord cróineolaíoch na bliana 1968, ach an t-údar a bheith ag léim thart ó thír go tír. Ar ndóigh, is Meiriceánach é an t-údar agus ba mhinic a dhírigh sé a aird ar a raibh ag titim amach sna Stáit Aontaithe.
Más spéis leat stair na 1960í, go háirithe na
Kris - My Novelesque Life

"Although it might have seemed logical to follow his successful books Cod (1997) and Salt (2002) with Olive Oil, Kurlansky has a different agenda this time out. But what can be gained from yet another Boomer report on the 1960s? Surprisingly, quite a bit. In examining the momentous events of 1968, he refolds the map so the U.S. is no longer the center of student protest. Though this "spontaneous combustion of rebellious spirits around the world"--including countries such as Poland, Czecho
Aug 18, 2012 Joe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Pause and take a deep breath now and again when you read this one. Kurlansky's charming, enthusiastic style invites you in to share hisshare his view of the subject discussed, and he is clarly an ethusiastic fan of the 60s protest movement. He'll sweep you away with words, making you forget that this is one man's opinion. At least he gives you fair warning in his introduction, marking him as one of the few writers free of the myth of unbiased reporting.

Well, it is a brisk and thrilling read. You
Larry Bassett
Dec 02, 2011 Larry Bassett rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
I am a sucker for books about the 60s and 70s so I had no way to ignore 1968: The Year that Rocked the World once I heard about it. It is another of those one dollar online used books. I can blame Goodreads for bringing it to my attention. Otherwise I might have died never having read this small jewel. It is special because it covers the 1968 political and social stirrings not only in the U.S. but internationally. It was a rebellious year in places other than the U.S. If you lived through this e ...more
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Mark Kurlansky (born 7 December 1948 in Hartford, Connecticut) is a highly-acclaimed American journalist and writer of general interest non-fiction. He is especially known for titles on eclectic topics, such as cod or salt.

Kurlansky attended Butler University, where he harbored an early interest in theatre and earned a BA in 1970. However, his interest faded and he began to work as a journalist in
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“It is not an overstatement to say that the destiny of the entire human race depends on what is going on in America today. This is a staggering reality to the rest of the world; they must feel like passengers in a supersonic jetliner who are forced to watch helplessly while a passel of drunks, hypes, freaks, and madmen fight for the controls and the pilot's seat. – Eldridge Cleaver, Soul on Ice, 1968” 1 likes
“Gen. de Gaulle is only concerned about history, and no jury can dictate the judgment of history." Georges Pompidou” 0 likes
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