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The political and cultural upheaval of the ’60s has become a subject blighted by misconceptions and stereotypes. To many, it is synonymous with widespread drug abuse, failed social experiments, and general irresponsibility. Despite sustained public interest, few remember that many of the freedoms and rights Americans enjoy today are the direct result of those who defied the established order during this tumultuous period. It was an era that challenged both mainstream and elite American notions of how politics and society should function. In Generation on Fire, Jeff Kisseloff’s continuing work in oral history, witnesses speak about their motives and actions during the 1960s through the present. Kisseloff provides an eclectic and highly personal account of the political and social activity of the decade. Among other things, the book offers firsthand accounts of what it was like to face a mob’s wrath in the segregated South and to survive the jungles of Vietnam. It takes readers inside the courtroom of the Chicago Eight and into a communal household in Vermont. From the stage at Woodstock to the playing fields of the NFL and finally to a fateful confrontation at Kent State, Generation on Fire brings the ’60s alive again. In this riveting collection of never-before published interviews, Generation on Fire unapologetically contextualizes the world of the 1960s, illuminating the ingrained social and cultural obstacles facing those working for change as well as the courage and shortcomings of those who defied “acceptable” conventions and mores. Sometimes tragic, sometimes hilarious, the stories in this volume celebrate the passion, courage, and independent thinking that led a generation to believe change for the better was possible.
Jeff Kisseloff is the author of two previous works of oral history, You Must Remember This: An Oral History of Manhattan from the 1890s to World War II and The Box: An Oral History of Television, 1920–1961.
"Kisseloff profiles 15 people who had the courage to stand up to social injustice in the 1960s and continue to fight against racism, sexism, pollution, and other social ills. . . . Readers interested in the turbulent period of the 1960s and its legacy will enjoy this book." --Booklist
"Deeply moving and complex, it will come as a revelation about an era too often reduced to caricature." --Maurice Isserman, author of The Other American: The Life of Michael Harrington
"An invigorating collection of 15 testimonials from counter-culturists, conscientious objectors, and artists who came of age during one of the most volatile decades in American history." --Publishers Weekly
"An interesting and at times poignant collection of interviews. A valuable addition to the growing collection of sixties memoirs. Highly recommended." --K.B. Nutter, CHOICE
“Articulate and vivid, offering details that give a sense of just how much was at stake personally for each of these activists.” --The Oral History Review
"Generation on Fire was an enjoyable and inspiring read which should appeal to a wide audience." --Caroline Hoefferle, The Register of the Kentucky Historical Society
"Almost as good as sitting down for coffee with the people that lived it."--phati'tude Literary Magazine
The University Press of Kentucky
Place of Publication
Political activists, Oral history, Protest movements, United States
United States History
Kisseloff, Jeff, "Generation on Fire: Voices of Protest from the 1960s, An Oral History" (2006). United States History. 160.