1956: The World in Revolt

Pegasus Books
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Vibrantly and perceptively told, this is the story of one remarkable year—a vivid history of exhilarating triumphs and shattering defeats around the world. 1956 was one of the most remarkable years of the twentieth century. All across the globe, ordinary people spoke out, filled the streets and city squares, and took up arms in an attempt to win their freedom.

In this dramatic, page-turning history, Simon Hall takes the long view of the year's events—putting them in their post-war context and looking toward their influence on the counterculture movements of the 1960s—to tell the story of the year's epic, global struggles from the point of view of the freedom fighters, dissidents, and countless ordinary people who worked to overturn oppressive and authoritarian systems in order to build a brave new world. It was an epic contest.

1956 is the first narrative history of the year as a whole—and the first to frame its tumultuous events as part of an interconnected, global story of revolution.

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About the author

Simon Hall studied history at Cambridge University and held a Fox International Fellowship at Yale, before moving to the University of Leeds to teach American history. His previous books for the academic market include Peace and Freedom: The Civil Rights and Antiwar Movements in the 1960s; American Patriotism, American Protest: Social Movements Since the Sixties; and Rethinking the American Anti-War Movement. 1956 is his first trade book. He lives in England.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Pegasus Books
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Published on
Sep 6, 2016
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Pages
528
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ISBN
9781681772660
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Language
English
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Genres
History / General
History / Modern / 20th Century
History / Social History
History / World
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Two great social causes held center stage in American politics in the 1960s: the civil rights movement and the antiwar groundswell in the face of a deepening American military commitment in Vietnam. In Peace and Freedom, Simon Hall explores two linked themes: the civil rights movement's response to the war in Vietnam on the one hand and, on the other, the relationship between the black groups that opposed the war and the mainstream peace movement. Based on comprehensive archival research, the book weaves together local and national stories to offer an illuminating and judicious chronicle of these movements, demonstrating how their increasingly radicalized components both found common cause and provoked mutual antipathies.

Peace and Freedom shows how and why the civil rights movement responded to the war in differing ways—explaining black militants' hostility toward the war while also providing a sympathetic treatment of those organizations and leaders reluctant to take a stand. And, while Black Power, counterculturalism, and left-wing factionalism all made interracial coalition-building more difficult, the book argues that it was the peace movement's reluctance to link the struggle to end the war with the fight against racism at home that ultimately prevented the two movements from cooperating more fully. Considering the historical relationship between the civil rights movement and foreign policy, Hall also offers an in-depth look at the history of black America's links with the American left and with pacifism.

With its keen insights into one of the most controversial decades in American history, Peace and Freedom recaptures the immediacy and importance of the time.
During the 1970s and beyond, political causes both left and right—the gay rights movement, second-wave feminism, the protests against busing to desegregate schools, the tax revolt, and the anti-abortion struggle—drew inspiration from the protest movements of the 1960s. Indeed, in their enthusiasm for direct-action tactics, their use of street theater, and their engagement in grassroots organizing, activists in all these movements can be considered "children of the Sixties." Invocations of America's founding ideals of liberty and justice and other forms of patriotic protest have also featured prominently in the rhetoric and image of these movements. Appeals to the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights have been made forcefully by gay rights activists and feminists, for instance, while participants in the antibusing movement, the tax revolt, and the campaign against abortion rights have waved the American flag and claimed the support of the nation's founders.

In tracing the continuation of quintessentially "Sixties" forms of protest and ideas into the last three decades of the twentieth century, and in emphasizing their legacy for conservatives as well as those on the left, American Patriotism, American Protest shows that the activism of the civil rights, New Left, and anti-Vietnam War movements has shaped America's modern political culture in decisive ways. As well as providing a refreshing alternative to the "rise and fall" narrative through which the Sixties are often viewed, Simon Hall's focus on the shared commitment to patriotic protest among a diverse range of activists across the political spectrum also challenges claims that, in recent decades, patriotism has become the preserve of the political right. Full of original and insightful observations, and based on extensive archival research, American Patriotism, American Protest transforms our understanding of the Sixties and their aftermath.
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